2018 English Open Snooker Tips & Preview
As the days become shorter and the weather a little colder, it is not all doom and gloom - Autumn signals the snooker season getting into full swing! Just around the corner (Monday 15th-Sunday 21st October) is the English Open snooker which will take place in the idyllic seaside town of Crawley.
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Who's Looking Good For English Open Glory?
Many of the world's top players are set to compete in a tournament which is an important precursor to the UK Championship in November, so let's take a look at some of the potential English Open favourites at this season's event.
Arguably the greatest player in the history of the game and an eternal fan favourite, Ronnie O'Sullivan is the current holder of the English Open, and it won't be an easy task stripping him of his crown. 'The Rocket' has started the season in determined fashion, recently claiming the Shanghai Masters invitational tournament, beating Barry Hawkins in the final. As we all know, if he is on song, the five-time world champion can be an almost unstoppable force. Many may avoid backing against O'Sullivan hanging on to the title which he won in Barnsley last year.
The young potter from Kettering has made great strides in the sport, rising to a world ranking of eight and is already the winner of two ranking events. Perhaps more importantly, he has started the season in great form, claiming the recent Six-red World Championship which was held in Bangkok, Thailand, before making it to the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters the following week. Wilson also got all the way to the final of last year's English Open, so if you want to back an up and comer who is making progress all the time, Wilson may be the one to watch.
Ding has led the charge of Chinese players in recent years, and at a relatively young age can expect to be competing for top honours for years to come. The former Masters champion and two-time UK Championship winner has been on good form recently, making it to the final of the Six-red World Championship and the semis in Shanghai. The World Championship is the major title which has always eluded him, but expect Ding to continue his solid start to the season by contending in Crawley.
Mark Selby is one of a handful of snooker players with such outrageous talent that they can be near unbeatable on their day. The three-time world champion is also the current world number one, and as he enters what could be his prime years, looks likely to keep his foot on the gas. 'The Jester from Leicester' might have considered his 2017 as having offered a paltry return by his own high standards - he took home the China Open and International Championship. So look for him to bounce back in 2018, adding to his collection of 14 ranking titles and keeping hold of that number one position in the rankings. Will the English Open see Selby get off the mark for 2018/2019?
Another snooker heavyweight, current world champion Mark Williams has a total of 22 ranking titles to his name, including his big World Championship wins in 2000, 2003 and 2018. The 'Welsh Wonder' has proven that he is far from a spent force, having picked up four wins last year including his triumph in the Sheffield snooker showpiece. This season he has started as he means to go on, lifting the World Open in Yushan, China - so the formidable single ball potter looks set to feature prominently in Crawley.
When will the John Higgins story end? One of the most popular players on the circuit is still in the mix for major honours, having reached the final of last year's World Championship where he was overcome by Mark Williams. The four-time world champion has given us some marvellous moments over the years and is someone that nobody would be taking lightly at the English Open. 'The Wizard of Wishaw' made the last eight in 2016's inaugural holding of the English Open, and will hope to stamp his authority on the new season by coming out victorious this time around.
So there is Bet UK's round-up of some of the top contenders that could be strutting their stuff at this year's English Open. Although a relatively new addition to the World Snooker calendar, the English Open attracts high-quality entrants and has already built up a reputation as an important title at an interesting point in the season. The event tells us a lot about who is in form ahead of the three major titles (the UK Championship, the Masters and the World Championship) later in the year and is a great way to get a feel for the new season for anyone interested in betting on snooker. So roll on October 15th, when some of the world's best will do battle on the baize.
You can get the latest snooker betting odds for the English Open, as well as all other sporting events throughout the year, at Bet UK's online betting. Bet UK are covering the 2018 English Open at our sports betting blog, including our English Open Tournament Guide.