The preliminaries for the third ranking event of the season are taking place this week at the Morningside Arena.
Ken Doherty won’t feature at the venue stages of the Northern Ireland Open after losing 4-2 to Martin Gould in the preliminary round on Thursday.
Doherty and Gould were locked at 2-2 after four frames, but the latter ended the Irishman’s hopes of competing in this year’s Northern Ireland Open hopes by winning a close fifth frame before completing the victory with a century break.
Luca Brecel also booked his flight to Belfast, the Belgian Bullet earning a more straightforward 4-0 triumph over Michael White at the Morningside Arena.
Meanwhile, Elliot Slessor’s form continued into a new week as he won the last three frames to deny amateur Ross Muir in a decider, while Liang Wenbo won a battle of the Chinese competitors with Pang Junxu 4-1.
Xiao Guodong edged Peter Lines in a match that lasted the distance, Andy Hicks overcame Aaron Hill 4-2, and Pakistan’s Farakh Ajaib conjured up a surprise defeat of Andrew Higginson.
Among the others to progress to the main tournament that takes place in October were Mitchell Mann, Jak Jones, and Simon Lichtenberg.
A change to the format in the Home Nations series this season means that 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.
The final qualifying ties take place on Friday, including the matches between Jimmy White and David Grace, Championship League winner David Gilbert and Ian Burns, and Reanne Evans and Liam Highfield.
Click here to view the full draw (Times: CET)
Featured photo credit: WST