It’s back to qualifying this week with the early stages of the International Championship draw taking place at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.
There will be six days of preliminary-round action as the players on the main tour hope to secure their flights back to China.
Last week’s Shanghai Masters marked the sport’s return to mainland China for the first time in four years, a long and enforced gap as a result of the pandemic.
Ronnie O’Sullivan emerged with the prestigious invitational title after recording an 11-9 victory over Luca Brecel in Sunday’s final.
While the inaugural Wuhan Open is scheduled for October, the International Championship in November will represent the first of the familiar Chinese ranking events reappearing on the calendar.
It’s a welcome boost for the players, with the Chinese competitions often boasting much higher prize funds than those in Europe.
For this year’s International Championship, there is a total prize fund of £825,000 and a winner’s share worth £175,000.
Judd Trump is the top seed as the reigning champion, with the Englishman finally getting the chance to defend the title he claimed in 2019.
In addition to world number one O’Sullivan, Trump has had his International Championship qualifying fixture from the round of 128 held over to the venue stages in Tianjin.
World champion Brecel, China’s highest ranked stars Ding Junhui and Zhou Yuelong, and a couple of other players who are facing wildcards have also had their encounters deferred.
However, marquee names like Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, and Mark Allen will all be in action over the next few days.
Recent European Masters champion Barry Hawkins, women’s world champion Baipat Siripaporn, and world seniors champion Jimmy White will also be competing.
Matches will take place over the best of 11 frames with live coverage available on discovery+ in Europe and Matchroom.Live in other territories (other than China).
International Championship qualifying draw and schedule
(Times in BST)
Monday, September 18
Stephen Maguire 6-2 Peng Yisong
Wu Yize 3-6 Ross Muir
Tian Pengfei 6-3 Stephen Hendry
Yuan Sijun 5-6 Long Zehuang
Michael White 6-3 Himanshu Jain
Ryan Day 6-1 Mink Nutcharut
Jackson Page 6-3 Liam Graham
Mark Joyce 6-3 Andy Lee
Barry Hawkins 6-0 Andrew Pagett
Matthew Selt 6-1 Jimmy White
Robbie Williams 6-3 Ben Mertens
Jordan Brown 6-5 Sean O’Sullivan
Tuesday, September 19
Xu Si 4-6 Stuart Carrington
Cao Yupeng 6-0 Ashley Hugill
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 6-1 Andrew Higginson
Matthew Stevens 6-4 Liu Hongyu
Joe Perry 3-6 Dylan Emery
David Grace 6-2 Jenson Kendrick
David Gilbert 6-0 James Cahill
Andy Hicks 2-6 Sanderson Lam
Tom Ford 6-4 Stan Moody
Anthony McGill 6-3 Alfie Burden
Wednesday, September 20
Xiao Guodong 6-4 Ishpreet Singh
Sam Craigie 6-1 Thor Chuan Leong
Stuart Bingham 6-0 Xing Zihao
Zhang Anda 6-3 Alexander Ursenbacher
Jimmy Robertson 6-2 Anton Kazakov
Noppon Saengkham 6-3 Victor Sarkis
Graeme Dott 4-6 Liam Pullen
Hossein Vafaei 6-1 Reanne Evans
Gary Wilson 6-0 Mohamed Ibrahim
Mark Davis 6-4 Rod Lawler
Thursday, September 21
Mark Allen 6-2 Ma Hailong
Jack Lisowski 6-3 He Guoqiang
Lyu Haotian 6-5 David Lilley
Fan Zhengyi 6-2 Mostafa Dorgham
Elliot Slessor 6-2 Hammad Miah
Kyren Wilson 6-3 Adam Duffy
Mark Selby 6-2 Muhammad Asif
Jamie Jones 6-4 Ashley Carty
Mark Williams 6-0 Rebecca Kenna
Friday, September 22
Robert Milkins 4-6 Marco Fu
Si Jiahui 6-5 Julien Leclercq
Jamie Clarke 5-6 John Astley
Dominic Dale 6-3 Oliver Brown
Joe O’Connor 6-1 Baipat Siripaporn
Ali Carter 6-2 Allan Taylor
Shaun Murphy 6-1 Andres Petrov
John Higgins 6-1 Manasawin Phetmalaikul
Neil Robertson 6-4 Ryan Thomerson
Chris Wakelin 6-0 Dean Young
Saturday, September 23
Ricky Walden 6-1 Jiang Jun
Scott Donaldson 6-4 Louis Heathcote
Pang Junxu 6-3 Zak Surety
Oliver Lines 6-4 Lukas Kleckers
Jak Jones 6-2 Aaron Hill
Liam Highfield 2-6 Daniel Wells
Sunday, November 5
Judd Trump vs wildcard
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Ken Doherty
Luca Brecel vs Ahmed Aly Elsayed
Ding Junhui vs Ian Burns
Zhou Yuelong vs Martin O’Donnell
Anthony Hamilton vs wildcard
Ben Woollaston vs wildcard
Featured photo credit: WST