The 2021 Scottish Open gets under way on Monday with Mark Selby, Judd Trump, and Ronnie O’Sullivan among those in the draw.
For the second year in succession the Stephen Hendry Trophy will not be contested for in Scotland, but it will instead take place at the Venue Cymru in Wales.
Contractual issues with the Emirates Arena in Glasgow led to the peculiar decision to return to Llandudno, which has staged many other events in the past, although it’s all a little bit bizarre that another venue in Scotland itself couldn’t have been arranged in time.
Regardless, it represents the sixth ranking event of the 2021/22 campaign and the third from the Home Nations series, providing players with the final opportunity to break into the top 32 in the one-year rankings list and qualify for the upcoming World Grand Prix.
Prize, History, and Format
A permanent fixture on the snooker calendar since 2016, this will be the sixth edition of this incarnation of the Scottish Open.
Selby has triumphed in each of the last two seasons, thrashing O’Sullivan 9-3 in the title decider at the Marshall Arena a year ago.
Marco Fu, Neil Robertson, and Mark Allen are the other prior champions, but only the latter will feature in the 2021 Scottish Open draw.
Robertson pulled out on the eve of the event due to medical reasons, while Fu hasn’t played on the Main Tour since the beginning of the pandemic.
Welshman Mark Williams is also a notable absentee, citing personal reasons for his withdrawal, but the majority of the other marquee names are in attendance.
The format follows the usual Home Nations guise, with seven-frame matches required until the quarter-finals and then a gradual increase in the length of encounters before the best-of-17 final.
A champion’s cheque worth £70,000 is on offer, and a number of players will be scrambling to earn enough money in order to break into the top 32 in the one-year list with the first event in the Cazoo Series just around the corner.
Selby is a notable player who is in danger of missing out in Coventry, with the reigning world champion only just inside the cut-off point in 31st place as things stand.
2021 Scottish Open Draw
Several fixtures from the opening round have already taken place, but the top 16 seeds all had their opening tests held over to the venue stages.
Selby will begin his bid to secure a hat-trick of Scottish Open titles when he takes on teenager Sean Maddocks, while O’Sullivan starts his challenge against Dominic Dale.
Trump, one of many elite players who disappointed at the UK Championship, will look to bounce back strongly when he faces Robert Milkins.
Allen, the winner in 2018, meets Martin O’Donnell while Sunday’s UK Championship runner-up Luca Brecel will attempt to respond in immediate fashion when he faces Joe Perry in the last 64.
Zhao Xintong, who produced a scintillating performance to overcome Brecel in York, will not be involved this week having already lost his preliminary-round tie.
Last 128 (Held-over Matches)
Mark Selby vs Sean Maddocks
Anthony McGill vs Jamie Wilson
Stephen Maguire vs Yuan Sijun
James Cahill (a) vs Ben Woollaston
Kyren Wilson vs Andy Hicks
Barry Hawkins vs Pang Junxu
Stuart Bingham vs Andrew Higginson
Bai Langning (a) vs Ben Hancorn
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Dominic Dale
Jack Lisowski vs Stuart Carrington
Mark Allen vs Martin O’Donnell
Shaun Murphy vs Ng On Yee
John Higgins vs Alfie Burden
Amaan Iqbal (a) vs Noppon Saengkham
Ding Junhui vs Zhang Anda
Yan Bingtao vs Zak Surety
Michael Holt vs Liam Graham (a)
Judd Trump vs Robert Milkins
Selby/Maddocks vs Oliver Lines
Xiao Guodong vs Duane Jones
McGill/Wilson vs Chris Wakelin
Lee Walker vs Jimmy Robertson
Mark Davis vs Tom Ford
Sunny Akani vs Maguire/Yuan
Robbie Williams vs Lei Peifan
Sanderson Lam (a) vs Cahill (a)/Woollaston
Wilson/Hicks vs Fergal O’Brien
Gary Wilson vs Anthony Hamilton
Hawkins/Pang vs Iulian Boiko
Joe Perry vs Luca Brecel
Jackson Page vs Michael Judge
Matthew Selt vs Bingham/Higginson
Scott Donaldson vs Steven Hallworth
Si Jiahui (a) vs Bai (a)/Hancorn
O’Sullivan/Dale vs Michael Georgiou (a)
Liang Wenbo vs Allan Taylor
Lisowski/Carrington vs Jamie Jones
Sam Craigie vs Zhao Jianbo
Xu Si vs Ken Doherty
Mark King vs Allen/O’Donnell
Hossein Vafaei vs Wu Yize
Li Hang vs Murphy/Ng
Higgins/Burden vs Iqbal/Saengkham
Ryan Day vs Gao Yang
Ding/Zhang vs Mitchell Mann
Martin Gould vs Jordan Brown
Chang Bingyu vs David Gilbert
Hammad Miah vs Yan/Surety
David Lilley (a) vs Holt/Graham
Craig Steadman vs Trump/Milkins
How to Watch the Scottish Open
The tournament will be available to UK and Irish viewers on Quest TV in addition to blanket Eurosport coverage provided across all of Europe.
Various broadcasters around the world will be offering coverage (information here), while fans in territories without another service can access the event through Matchroom.Live.
Featured photo credit: WST