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English Open preview: All eyes on Essex

The first of four Home Nations Series events gets underway on Monday with the English Open at the Brentwood Centre in Essex.

The 128-cueman event boasts a prize fund of £427,000, with the winner taking home a cool £80,000, and it follows quickly after the British Open final between Mark Williams and Mark Selby on Sunday night. 

The Jester is a two-time English Open king, and the defending champion, having beaten the soon to become world champion Luca Brecel in last year’s final and the Leicester man couldn’t arrive at the event in better form. 

Selby is the 6/1 joint-second favourite alongside Judd Trump in Essex, with Ronnie O’Sullivan heading the betting at 11/2.

All matches are played over a best-of-seven-frames distance until the quarter-finals, which are contested over nine racks. The semi-finals are the first-to-six-frames and the final is a two-session clash played over the best-of-17-frames. 

Aside from the prize money for progressing in the event, there is also a £5,000 reward for the cueman compiling the highest break. That was collected by Williams, who hit a memorable knock of 147, in last year’s event.

WhatEnglish Open
WhereBrentford Centre, Essex
WhenMonday, 2nd October - Sunday, 8th October, 2023
How to watchEurosport
Odds Ronnie O’Sullivan 11/2, Judd Trump 6/1, Mark Selby 6/1, Neil Robertson 9/1, John Higgins 11/1

The two Ronnies

Ronnie O’Sullivan is the 11/2 market leader for the English Open, and while it’s clear for everyone to see the fantastic talents of the seven-time world champion, it is more difficult to weigh up the chances of the Rocket this week.  

The Chigwell cueman was fantastic when winning the Shanghai Masters title last month and the 47-year-old dismissed the challenges of Ali Carter, John Higgins, Selby and Brecel to land that Chinese crown. 

However, the Rocket has withdrawn from all three of the ranking events staged this season and it seems pretty clear that events such as the English Open wouldn’t always be at the top of O’Sullivan’s list of priorities. 

The Rocket is one of the top-16 players that still have to win their held over qualifier to reach the main draw in Essex and the Chigwell man is 1/50 when he takes on Andrew Pagett for a place in the tournament proper.  

Robertson under pressure 

Neil Robertson is expected to challenge for the title in every event he enters and the English Open is no different with the Australian a 9/1 shot to claim the Brentwood crown. 

However, the Thunder from Down Under failed to reach a single ranking event final last season, the Aussie was beaten in the first-round of the British Open last week and the 41-year-old couldn’t even make it through the qualifying rounds of this season’s European Masters.

The poor run follows a disappointing second-round loss in April’s World Championship and the slump in form is becoming more of a concern for the Australian’s supporters. 

Lisowski could hit the Jackpot

Jack Lisowski is housed in the same quarter as O’Sullivan and Robertson and at 22/1 Jackpot could be a value alternative.   

The Gloucester cueman looked in good nick before falling to Selby in a final-frame decider in last week’s British Open and that should tee the 32-year-old up nicely for a big run in Essex. 

Jackpot is a multiple ranking event finalist, and while he is yet to claim that elusive first title, it’s clear that the ability to land a big prize is there. 

Lisowski made the semi-finals of the Masters and UK Championship last season, and if Jackpot is getting close to winning triple crown events, the Gloucester potter must have a strong chance of breaking his ranking tournament duck in the near future.

Lisowski takes on Matthew Stevens, in what looks one of the tricky top-16 qualifiers, but Jackpot should have enough to come through that contest and the 32-year-old may find the draw opening up for him as the tournament progresses. 

Tyneside Terror should fear quarter rivals

Gary Wilson enjoyed the best moment of his career when winning the World Grand Prix season and further success may await the Tyneside Terror. 

The Wallsend cueman kicks off his English Open campaign with a first-round tie against Dominic Dale, and with the inconsistent Shaun Murphy and Ding Junhui the big names in Wilson’s section, the 38-year-old will be targeting a deep run. 

Williams is likely to pose a big threat from the fourth-quarter too, but the Welshman may still have the British Open final on his mind. 

This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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