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Wuhan Open preview: Snooker's best back in China

Top-level snooker returns to China for the second of three ranking events due to be staged in East Asia this year and there's a 128-player field heading to Wuhan for the Wuhan Open. 

The event follows last week's English Open and the British Open, in a busy period on the snooker tour. 

Mark Williams, who recently claimed the British Open title will not be making the trip to China and the Welshman is joined on the absentee list by world champion Luca Brecel. 

Dave Gilbert and Graeme Dott are the other big-names missing the trip, but Ronnie O'Sullivan has made the journey and the Rocket goes to post as the 4/1 market-leader. 

There's an impressive £700,000 prize fund up for grabs in Wuhan and the winner will take home a cool £140,000.

All matches up to and including the quarter-finals are best-of-nine frames, the semi-finals are played over the first-to-six, and the final is best-of-17 frames.

Rocket ready for take-off? 

As is usually the case, O'Sullivan heads the betting, and the Rocket is a 4/1 shot for Wuhan glory. 

There is no doubting the talent and ability of the seven-time world champion and motivation seems to be the key factor when evaluating the chances of the Chigwell cueman. 

The 47-year-old declined to even participate in the opening three ranking events of the campaign, but he was successful in the lucrative Shanghai Masters in between. 

As well as the added prize money of the Chinese competitions, they have been played in bigger venues, with more fans in attendance and those factors appear to peak O'Sullivan's interests. 

The Rocket was beaten in the third-round by eventual finalist Zhang Anda in the English Open last week, but that form may not be the best guide to O'Sullivan's chances in China. 

Higgins hoping for a swift recovery 

John Higgins was looking in complete control of his English Open semi-final against Judd Trump, when leading the Ace 5-2, but the Scot was eventually beaten 6-5 by the Bristol potter and that harsh defeat may take some recovering from. 

The Wizard of Wishaw is a 6/1 shot to win the Wuhan Open and the four-time world champion takes on Martin O'Donnell in round one. 

O'Donnell himself had a good run in the English Open, which took him to the last-eight last week, and it could prove a tricky first-round tie for Higgins. 

Another experienced winner in China?

It's been a case of the Class of '92 so far this season, with O'Sullivan winning the Shanghai Masters, Williams taking down the British Open prize and Higgins cleaning up in the Championship League. 

Barry Hawkins crashed the party when winning the European Masters in August, but the 44-year-old is an experienced former World Championship finalist and it has been tough for the younger and less established performers to break the mould so far this season. 

Trump was contesting his 39th ranking event final in the English Open on Sunday, and while Anda was playing in his first, the 31-year-old is a long-term professional. 

At 6/1, Trump would have to be of interest given the form he showed in Essex last week and the Ace faces Oliver Lines in round one. 

Mark Selby looked a little jaded in last week's English Open, but the Leicester cueman has previously made the final of the British Open and the last-four of the Shanghai and European Masters and a refreshed Jester would be a dangerous contended in Wuhan and the 6/1 on offer is an interesting price.

Any odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.

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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