The China Open has now gained the regular spot as the final tournament before the World Championships so the players see it as crucial preparation for the biggest competition of the year. However, not once has a China Open champion gone on to win the World Championships in the same year, so form in the Far East does not always translate to Sheffield.
With main prize available for the winner though it is by no means just a warm-up tournament and all of the world’s top players will be going into the event in Beijing gunning for the win.
The last three champions in Beijing have been Peter Ebdon, Judd Trump and Mark Williams and it is Trump who will go into the competition as favourite which is no surprise as he holds the world number one spot going into the tournament.
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As has become custom in recent months Trump is joined at the top of the betting by the Masters and UK Champion Mark Selby who is likely to be only just behind the Bristolian in the odds. Then come the likes of John Higgins and Neil Robertson who are always a threat in the major tournaments.
As has been proved this season though there can be some fairly surprising winners in the competitions a long way from the UK. Ricky Walden and Barry Hawkins have both been in the winner’s enclosure this season and given Ebdon’s shock win last year there could well be some money going on a few long shots.
Hawkins is often worth backing against the odds as a widely under-rated player, as is Stuart Bingham who despite a string of successes in the last couple of years is still regularly way down in the betting. The Essex man will be around 25/1 to taste success in China and there will be much worse bets than that available.
Like many of the tournaments held abroad the China Open includes a wildcard round which gives local competitors the chance to upset the lower ranked players that qualified for the event. The local players rarely succeed in these contests but there is plenty of value to be had if you can pick the ones that do.
One player that has had success in these rounds is the 15-year-old Lu Haotian who has beaten the likes of Marco Fu, Michael White and Simon Bedford in the wildcard round of major tournaments. He has also beaten Dominic Dale in the main round of the International Championship so the youngster can certainly play. He faces Mark Joyce first up in Beijing who is a good player but could come a cropper against the talented teenager.
Chinese Open History
Chinese Open history started in 1997 when the first version of the event was held. Originally the china Open was not meant to be a ranking event and was scheduled for 16 players to take part which were made up of a combination of professionals and young Asian players.
Chinese Open History originally saw the tournament known as the Chinese International due to the broad range of players that were asked to play in the tournament. This changed to the China Open in 1999 when the success and growth of the tournament expanded quicker than expected between 1997 and 1999.
Chinese Open history has seen the tournament laced with legends and world champions in the game, all of the players who have won the title are considered routine favourites in many different Snooker Betting markets. Steve Davis won the first version of the tournament in 1997.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CHINA OPEN
The significance of the China Open is massive for two main reasons. Firstly, the tournament is important to professionals because it is the last ranking event before the World Championship. This means it can be last chance saloon for a number of players who are looking to qualify for the World Championship automatically.
Secondly, the significance of the China Open is huge because it gives exposure to Asian snooker. The contract for broadcasting rights is huge and goes a long way towards subsidising the massive prize which is currently available.
FORMAT OF THE CHINA OPEN
The format of the China Open has been kept relatively the same throughout the history of the event. The tournament structure works the same way as any other ranking event in the respect that matches are knock out from the first round and whittle down to a final.
In terms of frames the format of the China Open always built up to a best of 17 frame final until 2008 when the organisers of the tournament switched the final to the best of 19 frames to make the most of broadcasting contracts and to charge a little extra for admission tickets.
China Open Favourites
China Open favourites will traditionally always be the players who have played the best snooker over the season. Unlike other sports, snooker is a game where the conditions are exactly the same whether playing a ranking event in China or a friendly match down a local snooker club.
The only difference is that China Open favourites will be more familiar with dealing with the pressure that is attached to professional sport. It is still very difficult for the budding Asian talent to come onto the scene and blow everyone else away.