The first Home Nations Series tournament of the 2020/21 snooker season gets under way this week.
The draw for the 2020 English Open commences on Monday with the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump, and Mark Selby expected to feature.
Now in its fifth year on the calendar, the ranking event will be staged in a fourth different venue since 2016.
Like with the majority of other competitions on the schedule for the foreseeable future, the action will take place at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
The 2020 English Open Draw
Selby is the reigning champion and will bid to make it back-to-back ranking event successes following his European Masters triumph behind closed doors last month.
The “Jester” is the number one seed and in the top quarter of the draw, with China’s Fan Zhengyi his opening-round opponent on the first afternoon.
Selby could face Ireland’s Aaron Hill, the rookie who memorably knocked out O’Sullivan in September’s European Masters, in the second round.
Inaugural English Open champion Liang Wenbo is also in the same bracket in addition to the likes of Shaun Murphy and Stephen Maguire.
The second quarter in the top half includes Neil Robertson, who has a tricky initial challenge in the form of another Chinese cueist, Lyu Haotian.
Mark Allen, David Gilbert, Yan Bingtao, and European Masters runner-up Martin Gould will be looking to contend in this section too.
O’Sullivan and Trump, meanwhile, will be among those battling it out in the bottom half of the 2020 English Open draw.
The “Rocket” pulled out of the Championship League last week at the same venue so his appearance isn’t totally guaranteed.
The world champion is in line to face French amateur Brian Ochoiski, though, with a potentially difficult second-round clash against Ryan Day to come after.
World number one Trump meets the 2019/20 Rookie of the Year Louis Heathcote in his first-round fixture.
John Higgins, Mark Williams, Ding Junhui, Kyren Wilson, and 2018 winner Stuart Bingham are other notable contenders in the bottom half.
Click here to view the full 2020 English Open draw (External Site / Times listed in CET)
Prize and Format
The English Open is the first of four tournaments that make up the Home Nations Series – the others being the Northern Ireland, Scottish, and Welsh Opens.
In previous editions, there was a potential £1 million windfall on offer for any unlikely competitor who could emerge victoriously in all four events.
However, that prize is no longer available, meaning the players will be competing for the £70,000 champion’s cheque and the Steve Davis Trophy alone on this occasion.
The format is unchanged, though, with matches lasting seven frames utilised until the quarter-finals, from which point the ties gradually get longer.
Nine frames will be needed to determine the outcome of the quarter-finals, the semi-finals will be played over the best-of-11 frames, while the final will take place across a possible 17 frames.
Almost time for another trip down to Stadium MK for the English Open, play Tuesday evening 7pm 💪🏻
— Ian Burns (@BurnsyIB) October 10, 2020
Where to Watch
Eurosport will be providing live coverage in Europe and Australia, with Quest an additional option for viewers in the UK and Ireland.
China (Superstar Online, Liaoning TV, and others), Hong Kong (Now TV), Thailand (True Sport), Taiwan (Sport Cast), New Zealand (Sky Sports), Canada (DAZN), and Malaysia (Astrosport) will produce live coverage as well.
For all other countries and territories, the tournament will be viewable on Matchroom.Live – which is also acting as the title sponsor of this year’s event.
Featured photo credit: WST