Welsh Open makes Cardiff return

17:35:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Snooker returns to Cardiff
The clock is ticking as we are approaching the third most important ranking tournament in the snooker calendar - the Welsh Open.

The competition is part of the "snooker revolution" which basically means we are going to have the entire "gang" of snooker players at the venue (7 days, 128 snooker souls and 11 tables, so you better have multitasking skills to follow each match). And in order to keep things civilized we fled from Newport to the beautiful city capital of Wales - Cardiff.

It's been quite some time since the Welsh Open was staged here (last time the fans could attend professional cue-crossings was back in 2004), but we are back and we mean business!

Starring as reigning champion we have the one and only Ronnie O'Sullivan, who last year beat Ding Junhui by a determined 9-3 scoreline, at the same time recording his 12th maximum break of 147 beautiful points, hit in the last frame. I beat you remember that one!

Needless to say that he starts as favourite to retaining his Welsh crown (it almost feels like a deja-vu moment, each time a tournament starts we say Ronnie is favourite - well that's what you get when you're a top player!), more since during the recently ended German Masters he lost in such a barbaric way to Shaun Murphy.

Reigning champ, Ronnie O'Sullivan
For those not acquainted with the facts, O'Sullivan and Murphy were "chatting" in the semi-final of the 2015 German Masters the match ending on a decider. A missed red from O'Sullivan seemed to change the fate of the match, as Murphy handled the pressure in such a tremendous way to get over the line.

After the match "The Rocket" admitted he didn't expect to lose that last frame, so more reason and to see him aim for the title. His first snooker dispute will be this Monday against Australia's Vinnie Calabrese.

His "Berlinesse" opponent, Shaun Murphy is also amongst those that deserve to keep a vigilant eye upon, as he's on top of the heap these days. "The Magician" conquered the Masters title and was a runner-up at the German Masters, has a great cue action and he's enjoying his snooker more than ever, so watch out for him as he takes on Steven Hallwoth in the opening round.

Is Murphy aiming for a new trophy?
Talking about the mighty German Masters, we can’t overlook the obvious (much that he likes this word) current champion, Mark Selby

Despite having a poor season after winning the grandiose World Championship back in May last year, he proved he's ready for some action, or should I say cue action? The way he performed throughout the entire German tournament and the way he played in the final point him out as a serious competitor. His first opponent is Alex Davies.

"The Thunder from Down-under", Neil Robertson will take on last-year UK Championship sensation - James Cahill and this will definitely be a match worth-watching. #PrayForTelevisedSnooker

Can Selby continue what he started in Berlin?
The local heroes, Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens are also very much in the run, Williams taking on Lyu Haotian (this won't be an easy task) while Stevens will face Oliver Lines (same here).

Northern Ireland is represented by Mark Allen who has been in a very, very good form lately and is a serious contestant for the big prize this year, his first opponent being Alexander Ursenbache, while Ireland's ambassador Ken Doherty is taking on Zhou Yuelong.

Legend Jimmy White is also present at the Welsh show, his first match being against Barry Pinches, "Captain" Ali Carter is landing on a snooker meeting with Fraser Patrick, Bristol's best Judd Trump is playing against James Wattana, while Scotland's John Higgins has Michael Leslie as his first test.

The entire list of who is playing who and when, can be checked here. Please note that all playing hours are UK time.

So, let's not waste more time on talking and let's crack on with the Welsh snooker show!