The 2022 Gibraltar Open gets under way on Thursday with Judd Trump, Ronnie O’Sullivan, and Neil Robertson among those in the draw.
While this is technically the third last ranking event of the season, for the majority of the tour it will in fact represent the penultimate competition.
The upcoming Tour Championship will feature only the top eight players from the one-year rankings, and subsequently there’s the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
The 2022 Gibraltar Open is important for a number of reasons, so let’s first take a look at how the draw shapes up.
2022 Gibraltar Open Draw
Judd Trump begins his bid for a third Gibraltar Open title on the trot when he takes on Andrew Higginson in round one on Friday.
The Englishman’s confidence will be soaring again after a terrific March in which he has already contested two ranking finals, capturing glory in the recent Turkish Masters.
A somewhat surprise entrant this year, meanwhile, is Ronnie O’Sullivan – who has never before competed in the tournament.
O’Sullivan perhaps has his eye on the European Series bonus – more on that below – and will kick start his challenge with a first-round tie against Ben Woollaston.
World number one Mark Selby is the highest profile player not in the 2022 Gibraltar Open draw, meaning O’Sullivan could once again return to the top of the rankings with a title-winning performance.
Elsewhere, Neil Robertson faces Liang Wenbo in arguably the tie of the round, while fourth seed Kyren Wilson entertains Lukas Kleckers.
John Higgins, Kyren Wilson, Mark Allen, Zhao Xintong, Jack Lisowski, and Ding Junhui are other notable names taking part at the Europa Point Sports Complex.
Prize, History, and Format
There have been six previous editions of the event, which has always taken place over a sprint best-of-seven frames format from start to finish.
Judd Trump bids for a hat-trick of Gibraltar Open titles, and this list of popular sports betting apps may help you back the 32 year-old with various sign-up bonuses available.
In addition to Trump, Stuart Bingham, Ryan Day, and Shaun Murphy have won the tournament in the past, while Marco Fu was the inaugural winner when it was originally staged as a minor-ranking event through the now defunct European Tour in 2015.
There is a top prize worth £50,000 on offer, and the money earned will be important in various rankings races that are nearing their conclusions.
There are as many as four ranking races to follow during the Gibraltar Open.
The last counting event on the European Series, there are eleven players who could still emerge with the £150,000 bonus.
After the seven previous tournaments, Mark Allen and John Higgins are tied in first on £98,000, but any player all the way down to Ricky Walden in 12th could still emerge with the tidy jackpot.
This is also the last opportunity to qualify for the Tour Championship, with Higgins currently holding onto the eighth and final position in the one-year standings.
Hossein Vafaei is the closest challenger to Higgins, but there are seven competitors in total who could still leapfrog their way into contention with a well-timed run.
With so few qualifying for Llandudno, the Gibraltar Open will also be the last chance for most to either qualify outright for the World Championship or gain a better seeding for the qualifiers in Sheffield.
In addition, the tour survival race is heating up with the likes of Matthew Stevens, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Michael Holt, and Dominic Dale all in danger of dropping off the tour.
Where to Watch the Gibraltar Open
There will be Eurosport coverage provided across all of Europe, including Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Fans around the world will have various other options available to them, which you can find more details for here.
Last 128 Draw Play starts at 8:30am GMT on Thursday and Friday. Judd Trump vs Andrew Higginson (Friday) Zhao Jianbo vs Simon Blackwell (Friday) Scott Donaldson vs Lu Ning (Friday) Sanderson Lam w/o Chang Bingyu Ricky Walden vs Dylan Mitchell (Friday) Haydon Pinhey vs Jackson Page (Friday) Ryan Day vs Ng On Yee (Friday) Lee Walker vs Zhou Yuelong (Friday) Li Hang vs Luke Pinches (Thursday) Martin O'Donnell vs Jordan Brown (Thursday) Dominic Dale vs Louis Heathcote (Thursday) Lee Stephens vs Ken Doherty (Thursday) Jamie Jones w/o Phil O'Kane Xu Si vs Iulian Boiko (Thursday) Peter Devlin vs Xiao Guodong (Thursday) Barry Hawkins vs Zhang Anda (Thursday) ---- John Higgins vs David Grace (Friday) John Astley vs Michael Holt (Friday) Cao Yupeng vs Ben Fortey (Friday) Jimmy Robertson vs Tian Pengfei (Friday) Rod Lawler vs Aaron Hill (Thursday) Joshua Cooper vs Stuart Carrington (Thursday) Ding Junhui vs Mark Lloyd (Thursday) Gary Wilson vs Mark King (Thursday) Ian Burns vs Tom Ford (Friday) Joe O'Connor vs Duane Jones (Friday) Mitchell Mann vs Fergal O'Brien (Friday) Jack Lisowski vs Mark Davis (Friday) Matthew Stevens w/o Hamim Hussain Andrew Pagett vs Ali Carter (Thursday) Wu Yize vs Andy Hicks (Thursday) Kyren Wilson vs Lukas Kleckers (Thursday) ---- Neil Robertson vs Liang Wenbo (Thursday) Oliver Lines vs David Gilbert (Thursday) Daniel Womersley vs Pang Junxu (Thursday) Alfie Burden vs Rory McLeod (Thursday) Luca Brecel vs Jamie Curtis-Barrett (Thursday) Hammad Miah vs David Lilley (Thursday) Robbie Williams vs Stuart Watson (Thursday) Hossein Vafaei vs Jak Jones (Thursday) Lee Prickman vs Yuan Sijun (Friday) Craig Steadman vs Gao Yang (Friday) Jimmy White vs Anthony Hamilton (Friday) Stuart Bingham vs Gerard Greene (Friday) Noppon Saengkham vs Matthew Selt (Thursday) Soheil Vahedi vs Sean Maddocks (Thursday) Chris Wakelin vs Si Jiahui (Thursday) Zhao Xintong vs Jamie Clarke (Thursday) ---- Joshua Thomand vs Ross Muir (Thursday) Allan Taylor vs Lyu Haotian (Thursday) Farakh Ajaib vs Ashley Carty (Thursday) Elliot Slessor vs Michael Georgiou (Thursday) Mark Allen vs Mark Joyce (Friday) Steven Hallworth w/o Fraser Patrick Lei Peifan vs Robert Milkins (Friday) Jamie Wilson vs Reanne Evans (Friday) James Cahill vs Ben Hancorn (Friday) Thepchaiya Un-Nooh vs Francis Becerra (Friday) Joe Perry vs Leo Fernandez (Friday) Kuldesh Johal vs Michael White (Friday) Nigel Bond vs Chen Zifan (Friday) Fan Zhengyi vs Ashley Hugill (Friday) Barry Pinches vs Peter Lines (Friday) Ronnie O'Sullivan vs Ben Woollaston (Friday)
Featured photo credit: WPBSA