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PREVIEW: Welsh Open

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The last of the Home Nations events, the Welsh Open has by far the more prestige than three of its counterparts. Plenty of memorable moments and this one is an eye catching event. Not only because of how good Cardiff but the draws are something to salivate over.

Not only that, there is a tie between Britain’s and China’s hottest prospects. Amateur Jackson Page is being groomed for stardom by mentor Mark Williams. The former World U18, twice European U18 and European U21 runner-up will take on Zhao Xintong. Zhao is is on terrific form, doing well enough to qualify for the World Grand Prix very recently.

For those who have been engrossed by the Judd vs. Kyren ‘rivalry’, you haven’t seen the animosity between Mark Allen and Mark Joyce. Rivals since their junior days, they exchanged harsh words after their most recent meeting in the 2016 Northern Ireland Open, where Allen won 4-1. Though, Allen said they met up a few times and hoped that it would be called a truce, some say this isn’t the case at all.

Moving onto the draws, the out-of-form and defending champion John Higgins has probably one of the worst possible draws against compatriot Graeme Dott. The Ryan Day vs. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh match will last about 8 minutes. Judd Trump has one of the greatest Home Nations records but may have a tough second round should he come up against World Grand Prix semi-finalist Xiao Guodong. Lastly, Ronnie O’Sullivan will be against Sanderson Lam. He will be hoping to keep the BetVictor bosses happy while leaving the Coral executive board seething in their seats after he recently lost in the first round to Marco Fu. Probably.

Weirdly, all three Home Nations finals this season have finished 9-7. Just a thought. 🙂

THE DRAW

John Higgins vs. Graeme Dott

Li Yuan vs. Dominic Dale

Soheil Vahedi vs. Chen Feilong

Alfie Burden vs. Craig Steadman

Jack Lisowski vs. Niu Zhuang

Tian Pengfei vs. Marco Fu

Sean O’Sullivan vs. Ken Doherty

Sam Craigie vs. Mark King

Winner: Graeme Dott vs. Marco Fu

Chris Wakelin vs. Hammad Miah

Mark Davis vs. Joe Perry

Fergal O’Brien vs. Oliver Lines

Ding Junhui vs. Chris Totten

Jak Jones vs. Matthew Stevens

Michael White vs. Peter Lines

Joe O’Connor vs. Rhys Clark

Kyren Wilson vs. Andy Lee

Winner: Ding Junhui vs. Kyren Wilson

Judd Trump vs. Harvey Chandler

Xiao Guodong vs. Duane Jones

Robbie Williams vs. Rod Lawler

Anthony Hamilton vs. Sam Baird

Stuart Bingham vs. Ali Carter

Jamie Clarke vs. Matthew Selt

Martin O’Donnell vs. Hamza Akbar

Ricky Walden vs. Lee Walker

Winner: Judd Trump vs. Ali Carter

David Gilbert vs. Jimmy Robertson

Nigel Bond vs. Alan McManus

Zhao Xintong vs. Jackson Page (a)

Stephen Maguire vs. Zhou Yuelong

Zhang Jiankang vs. Fan Zhengyi

Alexander Ursenbacher vs. Yan Bingtao

Allan Taylor vs. Yuan Sijun

Ronnie O’Sullivan vs. Sanderson Lam

Winner: David Gilbert vs. Ronnie O’Sullivan

Mark Selby vs. Anthony McGill

Adam Duffy (a) vs. Zhang Yong

Eden Sharav vs. Xu Si

Stuart Carrington vs. Noppon Saengkham

Ryan Day vs. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh

Lukas Kleckers vs. Peter Ebdon

Ashley Hugill vs. Hossein Vafaei

Ross Muir vs. Daniel Wells

Winner: Stuart Carrington vs. Hossein Vafaei

Scott Donaldson vs. John Astley

Joe Swail vs. Li Hang

James Cahill (a) vs. Gerard Greene

Shaun Murphy vs. Adam Stefanow

Luo Honghao vs. Ian Burns

Liam Highfield vs. Liang Wenbo

Mei Xiwen vs. Michael Holt

Mark Allen vs. Mark Joyce

Winner: Li Hang vs. Luo Honghao

Barry Hawkins vs. Sunny Akani

Lu Ning vs. Ben Woollaston

Michael Georgiou vs. David Lilley (a)

Jimmy White vs. Andrew Higginson

Neil Robertson vs. Jordan Brown

Gary Wilson vs. Robin Hull

Rory McLeod vs. Thor Chuan Leong

Lyu Haotian vs. Paul Davison

Winner: Barry Hawkins vs. Neil Robertson

Robert Milkins vs. Mike Dunn

James Wattana vs. Chen Zifan

Billy Joe Castle vs. Simon Lichtenberg

Luca Brecel vs. Kurt Maflin

Alex Taubman (a) vs. Elliot Slessor

Ashley Carty vs. Tom Ford

Martin Gould vs. Zhang Anda

Mark Williams vs. Kishan Hirani

Winner: Robert Milkins vs. Martin Gould