China Open 2011 - preview

06:23:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

The last stop before the mighty World Championship is always China Open. A trip to China, where the snooker players can practice along with their "forever" rivals, earn some precious ranking points and money, the China Open tournament will kick off today and last until April 3rd.
We shall have our share of live snooker again, emotion will run wild and many surprises will again mess with out head. The competition has not even started and the first "bomb" exploded, when we found out that Jimmy White withdrew from the tournament due to some "visa problems". Sad, but what can we do? The show must go on and we still have a tremendous line-up for this event.

Mark Williams, the defending champion
Is no doubt in the fact that China loves snooker. It adores it! It was back in 1997, when China International, a non-ranking event was seeing the legends Steve Davis and Jimmy White reach the final, "The Nugget" finishing on first place. Due to its huge success, two years after that the competition returned to mystical China, this time as a ranking one, the final seeing an all Scottish battle between John Higgins and Billy Snaddon, the first one winning 9-3.

A strange thing happened in 1999, because there were two snooker competitions. First the one I’ve just told you about and second the actually China Open, that was going to last until 2002 and see the likes of Ronnie O`Sullivan as two-time champion and Mark Williams as one-time winner of this tournament.
Feng-shui for the winner :-P
However from 2005, the China Open was back for good, last year the Welshman Mark Williams cashing his second title after 2006, when he beat John Higgins 9-8. Last year, the final was a true delight for all snooker fans as "The Welsh Potting Machine" was taking on the local start Ding Junhui. It was quite a battle, until Mark started potting like a king and ended the match on a 10-6 scoreline. That moment marked his comeback into the light! ;-)

This year, Williams is the defending champion and I’m sure he’ll try to retain his title, so watch out for the "Potting Machine" that’s been in a very good form lately. If he wins this year’s China Open, it will give his confidence a huge push and you know that’s essential, more since the World Championship is coming. But that will apply for any player that will succeed in winning this tournament. A great victory weeks before the most important event of the great is that?! :-))

Day 1 will see the usual battle, against the local wildcards and the programme looks something like this:

From 07:30 (UK time)
Stephen Hendry v. Matthew Stevens
Kurt Maflin v. Cao Yupeng
Marcus Campbell v. Mei Xiwen
Joe Perry v. Li Yan

From 12:30 (UK time)
Neil Robertson v. Barry Hawkins
Jimmy White v. Tian Pengfei (Tian`s got a bye for the next round)
Nigel Bond v. Jin Long
Ken Doherty v. Li Hang

TV coverage:
07:30 - 10:30 British EuroSport
07:30 - 10:30 British EuroSport 2
12:30 - 15:50 British EuroSport
12:30 - 15:30 British EuroSport 2
19:00 - 20:45 British EuroSport 2 (R)

Best of luck to the snooker boys and see you tomorrow for first day’s comments and stories :-)