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Matthew Stevens Reaches Northern Ireland Open

The preliminaries for the third ranking event of the season are taking place this week.

Matthew Stevens emerged from a tight contest with Zhao Xintong to qualify for October’s Northern Ireland Open on Monday in Leicester.

In a slight tweak to the format for the Home Nations events this season, only the top 16 in the world rankings and a few local competitors will play their opening matches at the venue stages.



Every other player in the 128-player field must undergo their opening fixture at a different location – in this case the Morningside Arena – before qualifying for the main draw.

Stevens, who won the old Northern Ireland Trophy way back in 2005, edged Zhao 4-3 – one of three encounters that lasted the distance on the first day.

Cao Yupeng continued his fine return to the Main Tour with a similar success over Robbie Williams, while fellow Chinese cueist Lu Ning held off former Championship League winner Scott Donaldson by the odd frame as well.

Elsewhere, Ryan Day qualified for the last 64 with a 4-1 defeat of Igor Figueiredo, a scoreline that was matched by Hammad Miah in his ousting of Scottish rookie Dean Young.

All of the other results came in at 4-2, with Fergal O’Brien, Sunny Akani, Peter Devlin, Jamie O’Neill, and amateur James Cahill booking their flights to Belfast.

Several more ties take place on Tuesday, including Ali Carter’s clash against amateur Dylan Emery, an intriguing all-Thai battle between Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Noppon Saengkham, and Michael Holt’s date with fellow Englishman Chris Wakelin.

Click here to view the full draw (Times: CET)

Featured photo credit: WST



One Comment

  1. I think it’s a little bit more than a ‘slight tweak’ to introduce qualification for Home Nations events. I think the tournaments have been smashed. One third of the matches are played behind closed doors several weeks before the main event, with the clear message that lower-ranked players aren’t really wanted. If a live audience is seen as a positive thing, then there are some professional snooker players who may not experience that for the rest of the season.

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World Rankings Top 16

World Rankings after the UK Championship – won by Zhao Xintong.

1. Mark Selby
2. Judd Trump
3. Ronnie O’Sullivan
4. Neil Robertson
5. Kyren Wilson
6. Shaun Murphy
7. John Higgins
8. Mark Williams
9. Zhao Xintong
10. Barry Hawkins
11. Mark Allen
12. Stephen Maguire
13. Stuart Bingham
14. Anthony McGill
15. Yan Bingtao
16. Jack Lisowski

Fin Ruane Snooker Academy