The 2016/17 campaign got well under way at the weekend with the beginning of the Indian Open qualifiers at the Guild Hall.
128 players descended on Preston in an attempt to win the one match necessary to reach the venue stages of the returning ranking event.
Indeed, there are three qualifying tournaments being held in a row this week with the initial stages of the World Open and Riga Masters to follow in the coming days.
This gives the players an excellent opportunity to gain an early foothold on what will be as ever a long and arduous campaign, but three defeats will leave some with effectively no snooker to play until the end of August.
With the Indian Open supporting a short format again, several of the heavy-hitters have opted out of this event but the majority of the tour has been fighting it out for the right to head to Hyderabad in July.
Michael White is the defending champion following his maiden ranking event triumph the season before last, but his encounter with Anthony Hamilton has been left over to be contested at the venue.
Quite a few of the lower ranked competitors have enjoyed success on Saturday and Sunday with the likes of China’s Zhao Xintong, Pakistan’s Hamza Akbar and Akani Songsermsawad of Thailand all set to feature in the last 64.
Of the higher seeds, David Gilbert is a notable casualty after being downed 4-2 by Liam Highfield while Michael Holt is also out after losing to Crucible debutant Mitchell Mann.
Elsewhere, Ireland’s Fergal O’Brien suffered a 4-3 defeat to returning pro Michael Georgiou but the likes of the favourites – among them Ricky Walden, Martin Gould, Mark Williams and Kyren Wilson – have mostly advanced with ease.
Monday will see the preliminary stages for India completed with Stuart Bingham, Shaun Murphy, Stephen Maguire, Ken Doherty and Ali Carter among those in action – the latter due to face Jimmy White.
Meanwhile, there was controversy at the outset of the weekend when World Snooker handed out two suspensions to players on the circuit.
Matthew Selt, who is scheduled to play Gareth Green today, received a two-tournament ban for posting messages on social media which were deemed offensive.
There was an altogether more serious sanction imposed on Leo Fernandez, with the Irishman suspended as a result of suspicious betting patterns concerning his 10-4 defeat to Gary Wilson in the World Championship qualifiers in April.
Categories: Snooker News