It’s back to Asia for the next ranking event as the rescheduled Indian Open draw gets under way in Kochi on Wednesday.
The Indian Open was originally pencilled in for a September slot on the calendar but was postponed after the 2018 Kerala floods.
The 15th ranking event of the campaign will boast a top prize of £50,000, with John Higgins returning as the defending champion.
Mark Selby, Mark Williams, and Ronnie O’Sullivan are among several members of the top 16 who have chosen to skip the tournament – with more lucrative opportunities on the horizon.
Higgins then is not only the top seed as the winner from 2017, but also the highest ranked competitor in the field as the world number four.
The Scot had his qualifying round encounter in the Indian Open draw held over to the main venue, so will launch his defence against Ashley Hugill in the last 128 on the opening day of action.
Jack Lisowski, who has broken into the higher echelons for the first time in his career this term, will be among those hoping to threaten.
The Riga Masters runner-up and the struggling Shaun Murphy face Indian amateur wildcards in their held over preliminary ties.
Mark Allen and Neil Robertson originally entered but their withdrawals mean that only six from the current top 16 stable will be taking part.
Luca Brecel, Stuart Bingham, and David Gilbert have already reached the last 64 of the Indian Open draw having safely negotiated their initial qualifying ties.
While some will criticise the absence of the marquee names, it does generate an opportunity for the chasing pack to challenge for silverware.
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, fresh from a maiden ranking title in the Snooker Shoot-Out, will look to build on the confidence gained in Watford.
Four years ago, Michael White triumphed in the Shoot-Out and duly tasted success again a week later by capturing the 2015 Indian Open.
Interestingly, Un-Nooh meets the very same player who he beat in Sunday’s showdown for glory at the Colosseum with Michael Holt standing in the Thai’s way of a berth in the last 32.
White, meanwhile, is the only other former champion in this year’s Indian Open draw and the Welshman takes on amateur top-up James Cahill.
Elsewhere, European Masters champion Jimmy Robertson entertains Scott Donaldson, UK Championship semi-finalist Tom Ford meets Matthew Selt, and former world champion Graeme Dott battles with young Swiss star Alexander Ursenbacher.
Several players from the talented crop of young competitors from China will also look to take advantage of a weakened field.
Yan Bingtao, who would be on a cusp of a top 16 place if he were to claim the winner’s cheque, has been paired with Gerard Greene while improving countrymen Zhao Xintong and Yuan Sijun face Sam Baird and Thor Chuan Leong respectively.
For players further down the pecking order, the Indian Open will perhaps provide a golden chance to gain ranking points at a vital point of the season.
As ever, only the top 64 in the world rankings, plus an additional top eight from the one-year money list, will survive the cut at the climax of the World Championship.
Familiar names like Anthony Hamilton, Dominic Dale, and Fergal O’Brien are all hovering around the top 64 cut-off point and could do with a strong display in India this week.
Click here to view the Indian Open draw (Times: CET)