English Open Snooker 2018 Preview
The World Snooker Tour returns to England on Monday as Crawley’s K2 Leisure Centre hosts the 2018 English Open.
The biggest names in the game will be on show as the snooker fixture list gets into full swing with a busy autumn programme. The English Open is the sixth world ranking event of the season, with another four to follow before Christmas.
The English Open is the first event of the Home Nations Series with the Northern Ireland Open to follow in November before the Scottish Open in December and the Welsh Open next February.
There's also the not-so-small matter of the UK Championships at the Barbican Centre in York cueing off in late November, so snooker’s leading players will be keen to get a little momentum going into the build-up, starting with the English Open.
It’s difficult to look past the likes of O’Sullivan, Higgins and Selby for this title, but there may be some merit to looking beyond the favourites with some strong performances from lesser fancied players in recent tournaments. Here's our English Open tips and guide.
English Open Snooker - Key Facts
This is the third edition of the English Open. The tournament was added to the tour in 2016 along with the Northern Ireland Open to complement their established counterparts in Wales and Scotland.
The quartet make up the Home Nations Series with a £1m bonus on offer for any player who can win all four of the events in a single season.
Following 2016’s visit to Manchester and last season’s event in Barnsley, this year the English Open is in West Sussex at the Crawley venue which has previously hosted European qualifying for the Australian Open.
A field of 128 of the world’s best players will compete for a prize pot totalling £366,000. There’s £70,000 on offer for the winner and £30,000 for the runner-up.
The Rocket Is Back To Defend His Crown At The Open
Ronnie O’Sullivan will defend the title he won last October. The Rocket produced a dazzling display to destroy fellow Englishman Kyren Wilson by nine frames to two in the final and he's hot favourite once again for this one.
The English Open is O’Sullivan’s first appearance at a ranking event this season and much will be expected of him.
The five-time world champion successfully defended his Shanghai Masters title last month to become the first player to pass the £10m mark in career earnings.
It’s difficult to look beyond O’Sullivan in the betting for the English Open, especially given the 42-year-old has already laid down a marker for the season. Ronnie shows every sign he’s improving with age, refuting the old adage that snooker players lose their edge past 40.
The English Open Top Seeds Look Strong
For every prospective flutter on O’Sullivan, there’s always Mark Selby to add to your thoughts. The world number one has enjoyed a competitive rivalry with O’Sullivan down the years with the pair’s contrasting styles making them natural foes on the table.
Installed as second favourite, Selby looked a little sluggish during the early stages of the season, but he’s shown signs of a return to form with a win at the China Championship last month, defeating John Higgins in a seven-hour final. Selby crashed out of the European Masters early in October but that early exit will have at least refreshed him.
Before Selby’s win in China, it looked as if Mark Williams could move ahead of him to become world number one. The reigning World Champion has already won a world ranking event this season with victory at the World Open in the summer following his triumph at the Crucible in May.
The rest of the top seeds each produced an argument to be backed at the K2. John Higgins has continued to demonstrate his battling qualities in tournaments this season, despite not being entirely at his best while Judd Trump and Barry Hawkins have each made the latter stages of recent ranking events.
Scouring The Outsiders At The English Open
The European Masters at the beginning of the month showed that there’s strength in depth lower down the world rankings. The finalists in that one, Joe Perry and Jimmy Robertson, were little fancied ahead of the tournament. Eventual winner Robertson was priced at 25/1 before the event, while Perry was even further out.
Anyone fancying a flutter on an outsider might want to take a look at local lad Mark Davis. The Sussex-born current world number 46 has never won a world ranking event but will be buoyed by a home crowd. Davis made the last 32 at the European Masters before being knocked out by Mark Selby.
Last year’s beaten finalist Kyren Wilson has been in good form of late. If the early rounds are kind and eliminate a few top seeds, the 26-year-old could reach the latter stages once more. Wilson couldn’t live with O’Sullivan last year but frankly, can you see anyone living with the Rocket this year?
Bet UK are covering the 2018 English Open on our online blog, including the latest snooker betting tips and a complete English Open Tournament Guide. Our online sportsbook has the latest English Open betting odds, as well as snooker betting odds on tournaments throughout the year.
If you are betting on the 2018 English Open, gamble responsibly and remember; when the fun stops, stop. All players must be 18+.
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