Northern Ireland Open quarter-finals
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Weekly Round-up in Snooker

We’ve reached the Northern Ireland Open quarter-finals stage in Belfast but there’s more worth mentioning from the last week in the sport.

Ronnie After Number 37

Among those remaining in the Northern Ireland Open quarter-finals is Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The “Rocket” is on course to claim his first ranking title in the 2019/20 campaign, which would in turn represent a 37th in total over the span of a glittering career.

That would elevate the five-time world champion above Stephen Hendry on the all-time winners list.

It was once presumed that Hendry’s record would never be matched, but it seems guaranteed to be only a matter of time now until O’Sullivan breaks the record.

Sunday could be the moment but the Englishman must first overcome Shaun Murphy, with the likes of long-term rival John Higgins and defending champion Judd Trump also still in the hunt at the Waterfront Hall.

Trump has been the outstanding player of 2019 in general but was second best in a stupendous Champion of Champions final showdown on Sunday.

The world champion narrowly missed out on a maiden glory in the tournament as Neil Robertson pipped him to the post in a 10-9 thriller that boasted eight tons between them.

Trump is the 15/8 favourite this week in the snooker betting at 888 Sport to put that disappointment in Coventry behind him and land what would be a sixth piece of silverware this year.

Bingham Bangs in Belfast 147

Stuart Bingham compiled his sixth career 147 break during his first round victory over Lu Ning on Tuesday in the Northern Ireland Open.

The 2015 world champion is one of the most prolific maximum makers of all time, now in joint fourth alongside Ding Junhui.

Only Ronnie O’Sullivan (15), Stephen Hendry (11), and John Higgins (9) have made more than the player affectionately known as “Ballrun”.

You need a little bit more than just luck to be able to achieve the feat on this many occasions.

Apart from a high break prize worth £5,000, Bingham won’t receive any additional bonus for completing the perfect break of 15 reds, 15 blacks, and all the colours.

That is unless there are another 17 compiled before the season’s end, with the unusual introduction this campaign of a £1 million bonus to be shared should a total of 20 maximums be constructed.

Tom Ford has chipped in with the other two but the pair require a lot of help as time is already running out.

Muhammad Asif Wins IBSF World Championship

The 2019 IBSF World Championship reached its conclusion last weekend with Pakistan’s Muhammad Asif clinching glory.

Victory over surprise finalist Jefrey Roda from the Philippines gave Asif his second world amateur title following his previous triumph in 2012.

The IBSF World Championship has a long and rich history having been won in the past by the likes of Jimmy White, Ken Doherty, and Mark Allen.

Yet, it has lost a certain degree of its prestige in recent years after the formation of the World Snooker Federation, which hosts its rival amateur championship.

Asif’s victory no longer provides him with a place on the Main Tour, as it did when he wrote his name into the history books seven years ago.

The 37 year-old’s success means that the IBSF crown has been won by an Asian competitor for ten years in a row.

What’s Coming?

After today’s Northern Ireland Open quarter-finals, the focus will be on who can get their hands on the Alex Higgins Trophy on Sunday evening.

Challenge Tour 6 is due to take place in Hungary this weekend, although Challenge Tour 5 hasn’t yet been completed after it was postponed due to the venue’s damaged roof.

Apart from that, there’s a brief respite next week ahead of the always eagerly anticipated UK Championship in York.

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