Snooker News

Indian Open: Final Day Preview

Three proven ranking event winners and a 19 year-old novice make up the last quartet in the 2017 Indian Open in Visakhapatnam.

Anthony McGill India 17 (WS)

McGill also won the Shoot Out in 2017. Photo credit: World Snooker

Defending champion Anthony McGill faces Mark King while tournament favourite John Higgins meets surprise package Xu Si from China.

Both the semi-finals and the final will be contested on a busy Saturday on the subcontinent as the fourth ranking event of the campaign reaches its climax.

Scots Higgins and McGill, the two top seeds, remain on a collision course to meet in the final after comfortably passing their quarter-final tests on Friday evening.

McGill, who is putting up a sterling defence of the maiden ranking title he captured just over a year ago, whitewashed Zhang Anda 4-0 while his countryman repeated the trick against Liam Highfield – with both opponents featuring at that stage of a tournament for the first time in their careers.

Xu was in similar territory, and indeed hadn’t won a match on the main tour as a professional before this event in his debut season on the circuit.

The 2016 world under-21 champion produced a clinical display that defied his lack of inexperience at this level to hammer David Gilbert in another one-sided affair 4-0.

The teenager’s reward is a last four meeting with Higgins, who won his first world crown at the Crucible at became world number one when Xu was only a few months old.

Higgins has grown in confidence during this week after squeezing through a tough opening challenge against another Chinese competitor, Zhao Xintong, in the first round.

Despite the fact that the semi-final remains a short best of seven format, the “Wizard of Wishaw” will undoubtedly be an overwhelming favourite to reach what would be an incredible 46th ranking event final.

Victory would represent the 29th for Higgins, which would take him to second on his own in the all-time winners’ list behind Stephen Hendry, but ahead of Ronnie O’Sullivan and Steve Davis.

It’s nearly two years since his last triumph but the 42 year-old continues to feature regularly at the business end of tournaments and his career shows no signs of winding down any time soon.

McGill, meanwhile, will face King in the first semi-final clash as he attempts to collect a third ranking event crown in just over a year.

King, of course, will be going for his second after a memorable and emotional Northern Ireland Open success towards the end of 2016 in Belfast.

The Englishman had the toughest quarter-final but ultimately came out on top against another newcomer in Elliot Slessor 4-2.

King and McGill have a relatively even head-to-head record but none of their previous duels have come at this late stage of proceedings.

The final later on Saturday evening will be played over the slightly longer best of nine frames, with £50,000 at stake for the champion.

Coverage continues on the Eurosport Player.

Click here to view the draw.

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