The third day of qualifying for the Wuhan Open takes place inside the Morningside Arena in Leicester on Sunday as another 24 players take to the baize looking for the five frames they need to be on a plane to China.
We have three sessions of action over the course of Sunday with some decent names on show looking to book their spot in the main draw of the first ranking event in China since the pandemic shut down sport in that part of the world.
The Shootout champion Chris Wakelin will be the highest ranked player on show in the morning session on Sunday. It will be interesting to see how he goes when you consider that he could still be reeling from losing to Judd Trump at the European Masters last week from 4-0 up. Mink Nutcharut will be looking to take advantage of any weakness in her opponent. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh is also on show in this session. He meets fellow Asian player Thor Chuan Leong while Scott Donaldson will be looking to progress at the expense of Ma Hailong, who you think would be motivated to qualify for a home event. Anthony McGill is the other favourite up in the morning. The Indian player Ishpreet Singh Chadha is his opponent.
Jack Lisowski has come out of the blocks a little slowly this season but he has the chance to get his campaign on track when he headlines the afternoon session on Sunday. He will take on Jenson Kendrick for a place in the main draw. Pang Junxu shouldn’t lack for motivation to qualify for a home tournament and he’ll go up against the quality youngster Stan Moody. Tom Ford is also on show in this afternoon session. He will look to qualify at the expense of Adam Duffy while the other match in this session will see Jamie Jones going up against Liam Pullen.
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A week ago Barry Hawkins was winning the European Masters and now he will look to qualify for another tournament in the Wuxan Open. Hawkins has looked in good touch this term and meets Louis Heathcote for a spot in China. Mark Williams is the other standout ace on show in the evening session. Andres Petrov is the man between him and a trip to China. Matthew Selt will also be looking to make it through in the evening session. Sean O’Sullivan is his opponent while the other game in the evening sees Oliver Lines going up against Reanne Evans.
There isn’t a huge amount that I like over the course of the day but I keep waiting for Louis Heathcote to live up to the talent that he has but when it comes to getting the better of the bigger names in the game he continually comes up short. The problem he has is he has started losing to players below the elite level as well and that doesn’t bode well when he meets Barry Hawkins in the evening session on Sunday.
Playing Hawkins right now was going to be an issue anyway because he is coming off the back of his first title in six years and while I would imagine he has been doing some celebrating, winning a title this early in the campaign sets the year up for Hawkins to really make a move back up the rankings so he won’t want to miss out on the first Chinese event of the season. In the last two events Heathcote has gone down 4-2 to Ben Mertens and 5-1 to Anthony Hamilton. I expect Hawkins to see him off with a bit to spare too.
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