The second round of the Scottish Open concludes inside the Meadowbank Sports Centre in Edinburgh on Thursday and then the entire third round gets played out as we play down to the quarter finals of the last event of 2023.
We have seen a number of big names disappear from this tournament to the extent that nobody from the top eight in the world is left in. That offers up the chance for everyone left in to go very deep which should make for an interesting day of action.
This is the part of the day where the second round of the tournament comes to a close and opening the show on the main table is the highest ranked player left in the competition in the shape of Kyren Wilson. He has a tough challenge against Dave Gilbert to overcome. We are at that stage of the event where every match looks good and on the outside tables we will see the Northern Ireland Open finalist Chris Wakelin going up against Sam Craigie, who has won eight frames in a row this week now. Zhang Anda has opened the draw up by beating Judd Trump and he’ll take on the World Championship semi-finalist in Si Jiahui while Stuart Bingham will look to make progress when he meets Aaron Hill, who got the better of Jack Lisowski in the previous round.
The second part of the afternoon will see a repeat of the final from last year on the main table when the champion Gary Wilson takes on the man he beat to lift the title in Joe O’Connor. The three other matches offer up a huge chance for lower ranked players to setup a deep run in this event. Jimmy White and Dominic Dale will meet in one such match while Rory Thor and Ashley Carty battle it out for a place in the last 16. Zhou Yuelong will see a big opportunity for him to win his first ranking event title this week and he’ll hope to continue that against Andrew Higginson.
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The entire last 16 gets played out in the evening session but we only know the line up for the first part of the action. We already know that the home star John Higgins will take centre stage when he faces Lyu Haotian in a match which could be awkward if it is allowed to be. Sanderson Lam came from 3-1 down to Liam Graham in the early hours of Thursday morning and his reward is a clash with the other Scot left in the event in Anthony McGill while Noppon Saengkham will face the man who beat Mark Selby in Matthew Selt. Our remaining outright punt Tom Ford will take on Martin O’Donnell in the other evening starter.
The second part of the evening will contain the winners from the afternoon session. One of Gary Wilson or Joe O’Connor will take on Rory Thor or Ashley Carty while Kyren Wilson or Dave Gilbert will meet either Chris Wakelin or Sam Craigie in what is likely to be the pick of the matches. Zhou Yuelong or Andrew Higginson will take on one of Dominic Dale or Jimmy White for a place in the quarter final and Zhang Anda or Si Jiahui will face off against Stuart Bingham or Aaron Hill.
Gary Wilson played the last three frames of his win over Xing Zihao in the previous round like an absolute dream but the first four frames of it he was absolutely terrible and it looked like he was waiting to be put out of his misery. I fancy a fired up Joe O’Connor will complete the job here. Even after winning Wilson was honest enough in his post-match interview to suggest that he has no confidence in his game at all and if O’Connor makes Wilson work for his chances I expect the result of the final from last year to be reversed.
O’Connor has had a fairly slow season but that was the case when he arrived here last year and he went all the way to the final so there is clearly something about this place which brings out some positive feelings in him. O’Connor took care of Scott Donaldson in decent fashion in the previous round and if he can have his scoring boots on here you get the feeling the chances will come for him to run out a relatively smooth winner at a decent price.
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