Luca Brecel definitely won’t feature at the World Grand Prix next month after falling to an early defeat at the Scottish Open.
This season, the world champion has generally struggled to replicate the kind of form that he produced at the Crucible Theatre earlier this year.
Brecel reached the final of the Shanghai Masters, but as an invitational tournament it carried zero ranking points.
The Belgian Bullet hasn’t been beyond the round of 16 in a ranking event this term.
A strong outing was required this week for his aspirations of breaking into the top 32 on the one-year ranking list, and with it qualification for the World Grand Prix in January.
But a 4-2 reverse to Martin O’Donnell in Edinburgh on Wednesday will see Brecel fall short of that target.
O’Donnell compiled breaks of 82, 75, 70, and 59 to see off the world number four in a confident manner.
Kyren Wilson, however, still harbours hopes of participating in the lucrative World Grand Prix at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.
The Kettering cueist has been in similarly disappointing form during this campaign, but a 4-0 drubbing of Jordan Brown – featuring three tons – has sent him through to the last 32 in Scotland.
Wilson will need to at least reach the quarter-finals at the Meadowbank Sports Centre, although a deeper run could be required depending on how other results go.
Meanwhile, the number of top 16 seeds left in the competition dwindled even further on day three, with only three from that bracket left fighting for the last piece of silverware on offer in 2023.
Home favourite John Higgins, who scrambled past Ricky Walden in a decider, will be among the favourites for glory from here.
Defending champion and top seed Gary Wilson is also still in the hunt after his 4-3 triumph over Xing Zihao.
In the next round, Wilson faces Joe O’Connor in a repeat of the 2022 final.
Mark Selby, Ding Junhui, and Ali Carter were all added to the casualty list of marquee names, though, following respective losses to Matthew Selt, Tom Ford, and Noppon Saengkham.
Among the others to live to fight another day was Anthony McGill, who alongside Higgins will attempt to become the first home player to lift the Stephen Hendry Trophy.
There were wins elsewhere on Wednesday for Dominic Dale, Sam Craigie, Lyu Haotian, Andrew Higginson, Sanderson Lam, and Rory Thor.
One potential dark horse is Stuart Bingham, the former world champion compiling a brace of big tons during his 4-0 whitewash of Manasawin Phetmalaikul.
Bingham has dropped down the rankings but is a proven winner and will fancy his chances against young Irishman Aaron Hill in the next round.
By the end of Thursday’s order of play, the eight Scottish Open quarter-finalists will be known.
Scottish Open draw
Round of 128 (bo7)
Gary Wilson 4-3 Elliott Slessor
Xing Zihao 4-3 Fergal O’Brien
Joe O’Connor 4-0 Andy Lee
Scott Donaldson 4-3 Ashley Hugill
Hossein Vafaei 3-4 Daniel Wells
Rory Thor 4-1 Graeme Dott
Ryan Day 4-2 Jiang Jun
Ashley Carty 4-2 Andres Petrov
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 4-2 Ma Hailong
Chris Wakelin 4-2 Mark Joyce
Yuan Sijun 4-0 Muhammad Asif
Mark Williams 3-4 Sam Craigie
Robbie Williams 4-1 Rod Lawler
David Gilbert 4-3 Jak Jones
Jordan Brown 4-2 Adam Duffy
Kyren Wilson 4-2 Mostafa Dorgham
Mark Allen 2-4 Jamie Jones
Dominic Dale 4-1 Ross Muir
Jimmy Robertson 4-2 Amaan Iqbal
Jimmy White 4-3 Duane Jones
Robert Milkins 0-4 Mark Davis
Andrew Higginson 4-3 Allan Taylor
Zhou Yuelong 4-0 Anthony Hamilton
Martin Gould 4-2 Reanne Evans
Manasawain Phetmalaikuk 4-2 Ben Woollaston
Stuart Bingham 4-0 Michael White
Aaron Hill 4-1 Ken Doherty
Jack Lisowski 4-0 Mohamed Ibrahim
Julien Leclercq 4-0 Baipat Siripaporn
Si Jiahui 4-3 Tian Pengfei
Zhang Anda 4-2 Andy Hicks
Judd Trump 4-0 Sydney Wilson
Liam Graham w/o Ronnie O’Sullivan
Ben Mertens 4-0 Ahmed Aly Elsayed
Sanderson Lam 4-3 Fan Zhengyi
Cao Yupeng 4-2 David Lilley
Barry Hawkins 3-4 Pang Junxu
Xu Si 4-0 Mink Nutcharut
Anthony McGill 4-0 Ryan Thomerson
Oliver Lines 4-0 John Astley
Lukas Kleckers 4-1 Stuart Carrington
Noppon Saengkham 4-0 Rebecca Kenna
Jack Borwick 1-4 Ishpreet Singh Chadha
Ali Carter 4-3 Long Zehuang
Alfie Burden 4-1 Ian Burns
Matthew Selt 4-1 Dylan Emery
Matthew Stevens 4-0 Victory Sarkis
Mark Selby 4-2 Sean O’Sullivan
Shaun Murphy 1-4 Liu Hongyu
Zak Surety 4-1 Liam Pullen
Lyu Haotian 4-2 Joe Perry
Jackson Page 4-1 Himanshu Jain
John Higgins 4-0 Oliver Brown
He Guoqiang 4-0 Peng Yisong
Ricky Walden 4-3 Hammad Miah
Alexander Ursenbacher 4-0 Wu Yize
Liam Highfield 4-0 Dean Young
Tom Ford 4-1 Louis Heathcote
Jenson Kendrick 4-2 Anton Kazakov
Ding Junhui 4-0 David Grace
Martin O’Donnell 4-2 Andrew Pagett
Jamie Clarke 4-2 Xiao Guodong
James Cahill 4-3 Stan Moody
Luca Brecel 4-0 Iulian Boiko
Round of 64 (bo7)
Gary Wilson 4-3 Xing Zihao
Joe O’Connor 4-1 Scott Donaldson
Daniel Wells 3-4 Rory Thor
Ryan Day 3-4 Ashley Carty
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 2-4 Chris Wakelin
Yuan Sijun 0-4 Sam Craigie
Robbie Williams 3-4 David Gilbert
Jordan Brown 0-4 Kyren Wilson
Jamie Jones 3-4 Dominic Dale
Jimmy Robertson 3-4 Jimmy White
Mark Davis 1-4 Andrew Higginson
Zhou Yuelong w/o Martin Gould
Manasawin Phetmalaikul 0-4 Stuart Bingham
Aaron Hill 4-1 Jack Lisowski
Julien Leclercq 2-4 Si Jiahui
Zhang Anda 4-2 Judd Trump
Liam Graham 4-2 Ben Mertens
Sanderson Lam 4-1 Cao Yupeng
Pang Junxu 4-1 Xu Si
Anthony McGill 4-2 Oliver Lines
Lukas Kleckers 1-4 Noppon Saengkham
Ishpreet Singh Chadha 3-4 Ali Carter
Alfie Burden 1-4 Matthew Selt
Matthew Stevens 3-4 Mark Selby
Liu Hongyu 4-0 Zak Surety
Lyu Haotian 4-0 Jackson Page
John Higgins 4-1 He Guoqiang
Ricky Walden 4-3 Alexander Ursenbacher
Liam Highfield 2-4 Tom Ford
Jenson Kendrick 1-4 Ding Junhui
Martin O’Donnell 4-2 Jamie Clarke
James Cahill 3-4 Luca Brecel
Round of 32 (bo7)
Gary Wilson 4-3 Joe O’Connor
Rory Thor 4-3 Ashley Carty
Chris Wakelin 4-0 Sam Craigie
David Gilbert 3-4 Kyren Wilson
Dominic Dale 4-1 Jimmy White
Andrew Higginson 2-4 Zhou Yuelong
Stuart Bingham 4-2 Aaron Hill
Si Jiahui 2-4 Zhang Anda
Liam Graham 3-4 Sanderson Lam
Pang Junxu 2-4 Anthony McGill
Noppon Saengkham 4-2 Ali Carter
Matthew Selt 4-3 Mark Selby
Liu Hongyu 2-4 Lyu Haotian
John Higgins 4-3 Ricky Walden
Tom Ford 3-4 Ding Junhui
Martin O’Donnell 4-2 Luca Brecel
Round of 16 (bo7)
Gary Wilson 4-1 Rory Thor
Chris Wakelin 4-2 Kyren Wilson
Dominic Dale 0-4 Zhou Yuelong
Stuart Bingham 4-0 Zhang Anda
Sanderson Lam 4-1 Anthony McGill
Noppon Saengkham 4-3 Matthew Selt
Lyu Haotian 2-4 John Higgins
Tom Ford 4-2 Martin O’Donnell
Gary Wilson 5-0 Chris Wakelin
Zhou Yuelong 5-4 Stuart Bingham
Sanderson Lam 3-5 Noppon Saengkham
John Higgins 5-3 Tom Ford
Gary Wilson 6-5 Zhou Yuelong
Noppon Saengkham 6-3 John Higgins
Gary Wilson 9-5 Noppon Saengkham
Featured photo credit: WST