As ever the world’s top players will be jetting out to China for one of the many huge tournaments on the snooker calendar that take place in the Far East now. The only missing man this year is Ali Carter whose Chrone’s disease causes him to miss a number of tournaments over the year and the World Open has suffered from it this time around.
Mark Allen goes into the event as the defending champion and number one seed but he is some way behind the favourites as he has not backed up the win in Haikou 12 months ago with another victory since.
The favourite before a ball has been struck is Judd Trump who has been struggling for form with poor performances at the UK Championship and the Masters but he looked to be returning to something near his best with a semi-final run at the Welsh Open. He has achieved success in the Far East before, not least his debut ranking title win at the China Open two years ago so he may well be looking forward to this one.
Mark Selby and Neil Robertson are not far behind the world number one in the odds and are both more than capable of mounting a challenge, especially Selby, who despite crashing out early from the recent Welsh Open has built up something of a fear factor having won both the UK Championship and the Masters.
The man who did triumph in Wales was Stephen Maguire who won his first major ranking trophy since 2008 in Newport so will be full of confidence going into this one. He is a little way off the pace in terms of odds and although few players win back-to-back titles the Scot has enough talent to do just that.
Haikou World Open History
What is now known as the World Open has a long and storied past but until recently it had always been called something else.
The competition began all the way back in 1982 when it was known as the Professional Players Tournament and Ray Reardon saw off Jimmy White in the final. It took up its most famous mantle in 1984 when it became the Grand Prix and moved to be held in Reading. As the Grand Prix it was won by a whole host of greats including Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins and Mark Williams.
It briefly became the LG Cup between 2001 and ‘03 then returned to the Grand Prix when Ronnie O’Sullivan and Neil Robertson were added to the list of champions.
It finally became the World Open in 2010 and Neil Robertson won the title for the third time and the first in its new guise beating O’Sullivan in the final in Glasgow. That proved to be the final match in the tournament on British soil though as world snooker moved the tournament to China in 2012 with its base now in Haikou on Hainan Island.