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Return of World Open confirmed for 2023/24 snooker season

The World Open will be staged during the 2023/24 season, marking its return to the snooker calendar for the first time in five years.

An annual fixture in China from 2012 to 2019, the ranking tournament hadn’t been staged in recent years because of the pandemic.

But the World Snooker Tour confirmed the return of the World Open in a statement made on Friday.

It means there are now four events set take place in China during the current campaign.

The invitational Shanghai Masters is next month with the Wuhan Open and the International Championship – both ranking events – in October and November respectively.

The World Open will be held early next year from March 11th to 17th in Yushan, which previously staged the competition for four years from 2016.

Judd Trump triumphed the last time the event happened in 2019, when the then world champion outplayed Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the final.

Mark Williams, Ding Junhui, and Ali Carter were other winners in Yushan, while Mark Allen (twice) and Shaun Murphy emerged victoriously when the World Open was held in Haikou.

WST Chairman Steve Dawson said: “We are delighted to join forces with Star Xingpai, Yushan Municipal Government and CBSA to stage the World Open in Yushan in 2024.”

“Having been unable to stage tournaments in mainland China between 2019 and 2023 due to travel restrictions, we have made an emphatic return this season.

“To have four major Chinese events in our first full season back in the Far East underlines the huge appetite for snooker in China and the fact that we have built lasting relationships with our key partners.

“Snooker’s future in China is bright and this is just the beginning.

“The World Open is a fantastic tournament in an outstanding location which has particular significance for snooker as it is the home of Star Xing Pai and the world’s first Billiard Sports City.

“This title was won by four greats of our sport – Ali Carter, Ding Junhui, Mark Williams and Judd Trump – between 2016 and 2019.

“I have no doubt that all of the biggest stars will keenly anticipate the chance to return to Yushan in 2024.”

The draw for the upcoming Shanghai Masters, meanwhile, was also announced last week.

There will be 24 players in total invited to take part next month, comprising the current top 16 in the world rankings, the next four highest-ranked Chinese cueists, and four young Chinese wildcards.

The top eight seeds will receive a bye through to the last 16, with the remaining contenders drawn against each other in round one.

Top seed and defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan awaits the winner of the encounter between Ali Carter and one of the wildcards, who will be selected following an upcoming CBSA Tour under-21 event in China.

World champion and number two seed Luca Brecel, meanwhile, will face either Mark Williams or Pang Junxu.

Mark Allen, Judd Trump, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, and Kyren Wilson make up the remaining eight seeds.

The standout draw in the first round of the Shanghai Masters is an all-Chinese clash between Ding Junhui and Si Jiahui.

The tournament runs from September 11th to September 17th at the Shanghai Grand Stage.

2023 Shanghai Masters draw

Last 24

Ali Carter (11) vs Wildcard
John Higgins (10) vs Wildcard

Hossein Vafaei (16) vs Wildcard
Jack Lisowski (13) vs Zhou Yuelong

Gary Wilson (14) vs Fan Zhengyi
Ding Junhui (15) vs Si Jiahui

Robert Milkins (12) vs Wildcard
Mark Williams (9) vs Pang Junxu

Last 16

Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) vs Carter/Wildcard
Kyren Wilson (8) vs Higgins/Wildcard

Mark Selby (5) vs Vafaei/Wildcard
Judd Trump (4) vs Lisowski/Zhou

Mark Allen (3) vs G.Wilson/Fan
Neil Robertson (6) vs Ding/Si
Shaun Murphy (7) vs Milkins/Wildcard
Luca Brecel (2) vs Williams/Pang

Featured photo credit: WST

One Comment

  1. Jay Brannon

    The only Chinese events still to return are the China Open and the China Championship.

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