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Saturday, 27 October 2012

International Open preview

This Sunday will see what is no doubt the biggest tournament to take place outside the UK when the first staging of the International Open kicks off in Chengdu China.With a top prize of £125.000 it is not speaking out of turn to suggest that this tournament will if not rival the UK Championship in the years to come it will certainly sit along side it in terms of prestige.

The other element of this tournament which is to welcomed is the fact that the whole way through the matches will be over the slightly longer format with all matches to the semi best of 11 and the semi's best of 17 over two sessions.This is a format I have always liked as the difference between best of 9 and best of 11 is massive especially from a psychological .point of view to a player trailing 3-1 at the interval.In this era of everything been turned into bitesize it's nice to on occasion have a bit of slow burning drama.

Of course this tournament was to have seen the return to action in a full ranking event of our reigning World Champion Ronnie O Sullivan for the first time since that victory in the Crucible but he much to the disappointment of the organizers and fans withdrew at the last minute on medical advice.This came on the back of an article earlier in the week where he was quoted as regretting entering this run of tournaments and again talking about retirement.AS I have said in the past lets hope Ronnie does return to health soon and gets back to the level he displayed in lifting the World title as Ronnie in top form is still the most breathe taking sight we will ever see in snooker.

Of the player who have made it there will be plenty who feel they have a real chance of lifting the top prize. Among these will be John Higgins who play superbly in lifting the Shanghai Masters last month and indeed the man he beat in that final Judd Trump who di very little wrong.Another man in form is Mark Allen who showed his wellbeing in Antwerp with a fine display to win that EPTC event.

If we are talking about players in form you can't but mention Stuart Bingham who produced on of the evenings of his life on Thursday night when he withewashed both Mark Selby  and Neil Robertson 6-0 in the Premier League. If the saying is true that success breeds success then he surely must be on a high coming in here and will take someone playing well to beat him. 

You can't preview a tournament in China without mentioning Ding Junhui despite his poor record in his homeland but surely he will put this to right at some stage and there would never be a better week then this.

I could go through maybe another half dozen names and not mention the winner here but I'm not going to.Instead I will lokk forward to some early mornings this week and the excellent coverage on Eurosport of a tournament that could herald a major change in the way snooker is seen in Asia.Keep an eye out for my daily updates from Tuesday on.

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