Portugal will become the 11th country to host a European Tour event when the Lisbon Open gets under way on Thursday.
It marks another major step into unknown territory as the sport’s efforts to become more global continue.
Continental Europe has already seen successful satellite minor-ranking tournaments staged in the likes of Germany, Belgium, Poland and Bulgaria, among others.
However, this is the first visit to a country on the Iberian Peninsula and it will be interesting to see how successful or not it will prove to be.
The last 128 gets under way tomorrow but first, as usual, are the preliminary stages with many local Portuguese competitors taking part.
One of those, Luis Alves, faces Ireland’s Josh Boileau in the first qualifying round with two victories needed to book a place in the first round proper.
Boileau will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing IBSF World Amateur Championship in India, where he failed to get out of his round-robin group.
The 19 year-old then narrowly lost in the semi-finals of The President’s Cup – the third ranking event of the Irish campaign – last Saturday in Carlow.
Countrymen Mark Dooley and Dessie Sheehan are also contesting the early rounds and play fellow amateurs Adam Duffy and Paul Ludden respectively.
Recent UK Championship winner Ronnie O’Sullivan isn’t in the draw as he no doubt enjoys his thrilling triumph from the weekend.
However, Judd Trump, who came agonizingly close to denying the ‘Rocket’ when he came from 9-4 down to force a deciding frame, is making the trip.
World champion Mark Selby, China’s Ding Junhui and Paul Hunter Classic victor Mark Allen are all absent but Shaun Murphy will be going for a hat-trick of European tour events following his victories in the Bulgarian and Ruhr Opens.
David Morris, seeking to continue the form that saw him reach the last 16 in York for a second successive season, has a tricky opener against Welshman Michael White while Dubliner Fergal O’Brien faces Cao Yupeng of China.
The Lisbon Open runs until Sunday and there will be extensive coverage shown on Eurosport.
Categories: Snooker News