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World Open preview: odds, news and ones to watch

Snooker’s top potters head for Yushan, China for the top-level World Open.

The tournament returns after a three-season hiatus and it has become one of the highlights of the snooker tour since its inception in 2010. 

A total of 62 players have made the trip to China, with the last-64 matches played over the best-of-nine-frame format.

We take a look at how things may play out in Yushan. 

O’Sullivan hoping to rocket to sixth title of the season 

Ronnie O’Sullivan has been selective in the events he has contested this season, but that hasn’t stopped the Rocket from adding to his trophy collection. 

The seven-time world champion has competed in six ranking tournaments this term and those efforts have yielded two quarter-finals, a semi-final in the International Championship and victories in the UK Championship and World Grand Prix.

Outside the Championship League, O’Sullivan’s record in invitational competitions this term is even more impressive. The Chigwell cueman has won the Masters, World Masters and Shanghai Masters this season and it’s five trophies in nine events for the Rocket. 

The 48-year-old made the final of the 2010 World Open, but O’Sullivan hasn’t appeared in the event since, and the fact that the Rocket is making the long journey to China, has to be a good sign for his chances in Yushan.

O’Sullivan is 2/1 to add the World Open crown to this season’s bulging trophy cabinet and 1/10 to get past first-round opponent Michael White. 

Market rivals face a battle

Judd Trump, Mark Selby and Mark Allen occupy the next three spots in the betting behind O’Sullivan, and while that trio may have been pleased to be drawn in the opposite half to the Rocket, they have all been grouped together. 

Trump has won four ranking events this season and the Ace reached the final of the European Masters, World Grand Prix and Champion of Champions, but there is still a feeling that the Bristol potter is performing below his peak. 

Perhaps a poor effort in the high-profile Masters and the fact Trump was beaten in the first-round of last year’s World Championship does amplify the impression that he is not in the best form, but the 34-year-old does look to have a strong chance in China. 

The trouble for Trump is that Selby, Allen, John Higgins, Kyren Wilson and Zhang Anda are all housed in the same half of the draw as the Ace and that could make the path to the trophy a difficult one to navigate for the 5/2 second-favourite.

Selby won the Championship League earlier this week, but that is one of only three tournament victories for the Jester in the last three seasons and consistency has been lacking. The Leicester cueman takes on Adam Duffy in round one. 

Consistency has been the name of Allen’s game, and the Antrim Ace has won three major titles this season and six across the last two campaigns. Allen is 10/1 to win the World Open, and on the evidence of victories in the Champion of Champions and Players Championship, the Pistol has a strong chance. 

Allen is 2/9 to beat Daniel Wells in round one, but a quarter containing Selby, Higgins and Anda looks extremely strong. 

Faded stars looking to shine in China

Luca Brecel lifted the World Championship trophy in Sheffield last year, but the Belgian Bullet has failed to fire since claiming the Crucible crown. 

The 29-year-old made the final of the Shanghai and World Masters, but those were small-field, short-format events and it has been a string of early exits in ranking competitions for Brecel recently. 

The Belgian Bullet has made it pretty clear that practicing and the sport itself hasn’t been at the top of his priorities since winning in Sheffield and it will be interesting to see if performances improve when snooker is at the forefront of Brecel’s mind. 

The poor form of Neil Robertson is a far bigger concern. The Australian has won only three ranking matches all season and fancying the Thunder from Down Under at 12/1 requires an excellent memory. 

The Tour Championship of 2022 was the last title that Robertson claimed and the former world champion hasn’t been anywhere near that level in the last 12 months. 

The Aussie takes on Tian Pengfei in round one and Robertson is 1/7 to progress to the last 32. 

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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