China Open 2012 - Snooker goes to Beijing

23:41:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Tomorrow we return to China, where the 2012 edition of the China Open is kicking off, so for the next seven days we are expecting great cue action performed as always by our dearest and beloved green baize gladiators.

The China Open is the precursor of the greatest and biggest tournaments in snooker’s calendar (aka. the World Championship), this practically being the last stop before engaging in a two-week snooker show of cues' battles.

Last year, China Open's trophy was conquered by an incredible Judd Trump, this setting the base for a tremendous Crucible run from the Bristol player. It's kind of hard to believe it's been a year since that event, Judd's biggest breakthrough, and that now he's in the posture of defending (for the first time) a ranking title.

But can he retain his Chinese crown? Well, although he hasn't been at his best lately, losing matches in front of players we would have expected him to beat (see the recent defeat he suffered in front of Xiao Guodong during the PTC Grand Finals), the lad's talent hasn't vaporized and his guts, next to him enjoying playing snooker so much will certainly make him a winner.

Let's not forget that this title means a lot to Trump and that's actually enough reason for him to get back on the winning-line.

On the opposite corner we have the man that last year stood between Trump and the World crown, John Higgins. A player that had an out-of-the-ordinary last season, but has failed to recapture some of that amazing form during this one.

This is his last chance to show some improvement before he'll he forced to defend his crown at the Crucible and he knows he needs to do better. Not just because he hasn't won anything this season, but because each defeat affects his self-confidence, as he very well put it so many times. And we all know how important that aspect is when you play in the "big one".

Another player that wants to make the most of this tournament is also Mark Selby. The Leicester man won the Wuxi Classic and the Shanghai Masters, plus PTC 4, but after that he just faded away. This alternation of a good start with a terrible finish (aka., him losing) has kept him away from important titles and if we are to consider that last year he was just top of his class during the China Open, losing the final by 10-8 to Trump, then you can get why this is important to him.

Anyone for Chinese cookies?
But returning to the current China Open, let's see how the first day match schedule is looking like.
Well, first of all, needless to say that is the WildCard round, six out of eight matches having one wildcard on one side, and one brave qualifier on the other. Not getting to say too much about this, for you all know I find it frustrating to see a player that have prevailed up to four matches to find themselves having to face one that hasn't.

All matches up and including the quarter-finals are being played under the rule of "best of 9" and since this is a Chinese tournament, you all know what the bad news is, right? For those of you living in the UK this means the fun starts somewhere around 7.30am, so you better get a good night sleep tonight for tomorrow we are starting early with:

21 Neil Robertson v. Jamie Cope
1 Jimmy White v. Omar Alkojah
2 Mark King v. Zhu Yinghui
4 Michael Holt v. Li Hang

22 Martin Gould v. Stephen Hendry
7 Peter Ebdon v. Lu Haotian
5 Ben Woollaston v. Chen Feilong
6 Jamie Jones v. Lu Ning

*all hours are UK time

TV coverage:
07:30 - 10:30 British EuroSport (LIVE)
07:30 - 10:30 British EuroSport 2 (LIVE)
12:30 - 15: 30 British EuroSport (LIVE)
12:30 - 15: 30 British EuroSport 2 (LIVE)
19:00 - 20:30 British EuroSport 2
23:10 - 00:45 British EuroSport