After a month filled with various invitational events, snooker makes a return for the masses on the Main Tour this week with a number of qualifying rounds in Preston for upcoming ranking tournaments.
The Guild Hall will stage the preliminary rounds for the Indian Open, European Masters, and World Open over the next nine days.
July was packed full of invitationals, with not a single ranking event scheduled following the season-starting Riga Masters in June.
China A, with Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo, bagged World Cup success in Wuxi while Neil Robertson emerged victorious in the lucrative Hong Kong Masters.
On Sunday, Kyren Wilson collected a gold medal for Great Britain in the Wroclaw World Games while an unrelated GB side featuring Ronnie O’Sullivan hammered China 26-9 in the inaugural CVB Snooker Challenge in Shenzhen.
However, August will be back to somewhat more serious competition with three qualifying rounds to be followed by the China Championship and Paul Hunter Classic later in the month.
The Indian Open qualifiers kick things off on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Anthony McGill, as the defending champion and top seed, has his last 128 round fixture with home favourite Aditya Mehta held over to the main the venue along with a number of other ties.
As has become common with the Indian Open, quite a few of the marquee names have opted against travelling for this event so there could be an opportunity for somebody a little bit further down the rankings to progress through the rounds.
Twelve months ago, McGill achieved his maiden ranking event triumph by beating Kyren Wilson in the final – the first of two ranking event trophies the Scot captured last season.
World champion Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Ding Junhui, and Ronnie O’Sullivan aren’t in the line-up but the likes of John Higgins, Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, and Stuart Bingham ensure that there will be plenty of quality on show.
Irish veteran Ken Doherty will be hoping to continue his fine form this campaign after a semi-final run in Latvia, but comes up against World Games silver medallist Ali Carter in a tough qualifying encounter.
Fellow Dubliner Fergal O’Brien meets Craig Steadman while struggling Kildare cueist Josh Boileau faces David Grace.
Northern Irish sixth seed Mark Allen is up against Thor Chuan Leong while countrymen Joe Swail and Gerard Greene play Jack Lisowski and Michael White respectively.
Categories: Snooker News