Shanghai Qualifiers

Qualification for the Shanghai Masters will get under way tomorrow in Sheffield with 16 players hoping to make the trip to China in September.

Because of the extra players on the circuit this season, four unlucky players have to face each other in a preliminary round.

That means Ireland’s David Hogan will need to win five matches, rather than the usual four for the lower ranked players, if he wants to reach the first ranking event of his career.

His task is not made any easier with the first test being a meeting with recent World Cup player Luca Brecel of Belgium.

In the other preliminary round, India’s Lucky Vatnani takes on Adam Duffy, who was one of the dozen cueists that came through Q-School back in May.

As always, the draw has thrown up some interesting ties that could materialise as the week progresses.

Englishman David Gilbert, who reached the Last 16 in the Australian Open, has enjoyed a remarkable start to the campaign and is already knocking on the door of the coveted Top 64 place in the world rankings.

This would ensure his status as a professional for another season but he has a tricky opening test in Ben Woollaston in round one of qualifying.

Indeed, his potential route to Shanghai is laden with difficult ties and he would have to oust Anthony McGill, Tom Ford and Australian Open champion Stuart Bingham if he was to continue his good form.

Of the other Irish players in the early stages, David Morris will play the talented Liam Highfield.

Morris and Highfield are among a group of youngsters that are being tipped as potential stars – along with the likes of Jack Lisowski.

Qualifying for a major event is a gruelling task that takes a lot of mental strength and high quality snooker to be continuously successful throughout a season.

The most important thing for the lower ranked players, though, is to at least win one match because the difference in ranking points between those that lose out first time around and those that progress through even one encounter is massive.

There will be reports here on the progression of the qualifiers throughout the week but for a more detailed look at the draw for the Shanghai Masters qualifiers click here.

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