We are right in the heart of the snooker season now and the qualifying for two more tournaments takes place this week beginning with the World Open which gets underway in Barnsley on Monday as players look for the win which will get them to the main event in China in March.
There are some held over matches which will be played at the venue but there are still plenty of big names taking to the baize this week with Mark Selby and Neil Robertson the two huge stars in action on Monday.
There are seven matches in the morning session with Chinese players littered throughout them with the pick of the early action seeing Dominic Dale going up against Marco Fu on one of the streamed tables. Fan Zhengyi is a home player who will be looking to set up a trip back to China. Dylan Emery stands in his way while Peng Yisong is another Chinese player on show. He has a date with Ricky Walden to overcome. Both of those games will be streamed as will the one between Iulian Boiko and Baipat Siripaporn. Zhou Yuelong is actually the highest ranked player on show in the morning so it is a surprise he isn’t on a streamed table. He meets Jiang Jun while Liu Hongyu will look to make it into a home event at the expense of Jamie Clarke. Tian Pengfei meets Mink Nucharut in the other game.
Mark Selby is the headline act in the afternoon session and he’ll be on the main table as he looks to secure another trip to China. Xing Zihao is the man looking to deny him and qualify for a home event for him. Ryan Day has been in and out of the top 16 recently but he is currently outside of it so could do with winning his qualifying match with Andrew Higginson. David Grace hasn’t had much of a season so far so he needs to step on the gas in the second half of it. He meets Rebecca Kenna while Matthew Stevens is the other recognisable name on the streamed tables. He goes up against Hammad Miah. The three other matches all have the potential to be decent as Joe O’Connor faces Aaron Hill, Yuan Sijun meets Alexander Ursenbacher and Pang Junxu looks to qualify for a home event when he takes on James Cahill.
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Neil Robertson is the man who is due to be the star of the evening session, that is assuming he turns up at the right venue having previously gone awry when trying to find this place! The Brazilian player Victor Sarkis will be hoping he goes to the wrong place again. That match is on a streamed table with the other three games available for streaming seeing Dave Gilbert taking on Anton Kazakov, Joe Perry looking to make progress at the expense of Martin O’Donnell and Jamie Jones meeting Rod Lawler. The other three matches in this session see the former Shootout champion Chris Wakelin going up against Andy Hicks, Robbie Williams facing Andy Lee and Anthony Hamilton looking to progress against Jenson Kendrick.
I’ll go with one bet over the course of the first day of action here and it comes in the evening session when Martin O’Donnell takes on Joe Perry in a match where there is plenty of juice in the price in the lower ranked player. Perry hasn’t had a good season at all and I recently saw him on the Stephen Hendry YouTube channel where he suggested he no longer likes practicing and will still try hard in matches but is moving into the next phase of his life and his results this season would suggest that is the case.
Other than at the Northern Ireland Open, Perry hasn’t won more than one match in a tournament all season and we know he is coaching Neil Robertson now so that might detract from his play even more. O’Donnell has had a much better season with a quarter final appearance at the English Open and last 16 in Scotland. O’Donnell has some huge scalps on his CV this term with Mark Selby, Stephen Maguire, John Higgins and Luca Brecel all downed by him so based on their campaigns so far O’Donnell has more than a fair chance here.
Back M.O’Donnell to beat J.Perry for a 3/10 stake at 2.30 with 888sport
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