Next week’s English Open world ranking event will be title sponsored by global sports streaming platform Matchroom.Live
The Matchroom.LiveEnglish Open will run from October 12 to 18 at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, with a tremendous field of the world’s top players.
In all there will be 128 players battling for the famous Steve Davis Trophy, including World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, world number one Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, John Higgins, Ding Junhui, Shaun Murphy and defending champion Mark Selby.
Matchroom.Live was launched in May, giving fans across the planet the opportunity to watch a wide range of top class sports content, live and on demand.
Fans can watch a multitude of live sport including snooker, darts, boxing, pool and much more, through a subscription package and pay-per-view options in territories without current broadcast.
In territories where there is alternative broadcast, fans can still register for FREE and watch a vast collection of content on demand, including classic clips and matches, highlights, features and interviews.
The Matchroom.Live English Open will have television broadcast on Eurosport, Quest, PCCW (Hong Kong), Truesport (Thailand), Sky (New Zealand), DAZN (Canada), Astrosport (Malaysia), Sportcast (Taiwan) as well as Liaoning TV and online broadcast in China.
In all other territories it will be available on Matchroom.Live
It is the first of the 2020/21 season’s Home Nations series. The action starts on Monday at 10am.
WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “We are delighted to join forces with Matchroom.Live for the English Open. It is a phenomenal field packed with the world’s best and it’s going to be a fantastic week.
“Matchroom.Live is all about reaching out to fans in every corner of the globe who love watching live sport but haven’t had the opportunity to do so because of a lack of television coverage in their own territory. Now they have the choice to subscribe and watch the biggest events live. The range of content on Matchroom.Live is fabulous.
“We know we have many millions of snooker fans in the Indian sub-continent, Africa, the Americas and other areas where they have been starved of broadcast in the past. We are now giving them what they want and developing the popularity of our great sport worldwide.”
Matchroom.Live is a video-first platform, with the ability to cast to virtually any device whether that be a console, Smart TV, or connected device. The services will also allow fans to watch up to four live events at once with ‘QuadPlay’.
The service is built and powered by sports streaming and video technology specialists StreamAMG. They have been a longstanding partner of Matchroom Sport operating PDCTV since 2016 and streaming Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz II for the Indian Subcontinent in December 2019.
For more details go to Matchroom.Live
World number four Mark Selby is high on confidence ahead of his bid to retain the Steve Davis Trophy at next week’s Matchroom.Live English Open.
Selby, who won the title 12 months ago, gets his campaign underway on Monday, when he faces China’s Fan Zhengyi in the opening round Milton Keynes.
Selby’s 2019 English Open victory came after a stunning 9-1 win over David Gilbert in the final. The three-time World Champion missed just seven balls and racked up seven breaks over 50 in the emphatic win. He then went on to become the first ever player to win two Home Nations events in a single season by claiming the Scottish Open title in December.
Those victories were the eighth and ninth in an ongoing run of ten consecutive ranking final victories, which includes the recent European Masters where he beat Martin Gould to take home the title. Looking back on last year’s win at the English Open, Selby admits the win over Gilbert was one of the finest performances of his career.
Selby said: “My form leading up to the tournament wasn’t great. Even getting to the final, I didn’t play fantastically in any of the matches. I just dug in and grafted. Then playing Dave I produced some really good stuff. That was probably the best I’ve played before in a final. I’d like to perform like that every time. If I could box up that performance and do it in every final, then you’d be paying a fortune for it.
“Mark Allen had a shot at a double to beat me at 5-3 up in the semi-finals. He only needed the red and it basically went halfway down the pocket and popped out again. I went on and pinched the frame and then won the match. If I don’t win that game, I don’t win the English Open, my confidence is low and I probably wouldn’t have won the Scottish Open. Snooker is a game of fractions. One ball can turn a match, or in that instance it probably turned my whole season around.”
Selby’s win over Gould in the European Masters final was a thrilling encounter, with the 37-year-old requiring a final frame decider to seal the 9-8 triumph. He was the beneficiary of two walkovers earlier in the event after Michael White was required to self isolate and Mark Davis had his cue stolen, which he has since got back.
Selby began working with coach Chris Henry ahead of his run to the semi-finals of the World Championship and has admitted that partnership has helped to restore his confidence levels.
“I played well in the matches that did happen! My match with Stuart Bingham that was the big one for me. I was 4-1 down and won 5-4. If I was in that position 18 months ago, I might not have won that game as I was a bit fragile upstairs. Stuart had two total clearances to go 4-1 up and was playing very well. I still had the confidence that I could win the match. That was massive for me. In the past I wouldn’t have had that self belief. I wouldn’t have given up, but I’d have had more negative thoughts than positive. When my back was against the wall, I played my best snooker. I thought it was a decent standard against Martin in the final and I’m happy how I got over the line.
“Some of the stuff Chris Henry has done with me off the table has taught me to sit in my chair and reminisce about positive things that I’ve done in the past. It is important to know that I’ve done it before and realise that there is no reason I can’t do it again. You’ve just got to remain positive no matter what the situation is in the match.”
The 18-time ranking event winner says he is now aiming to dethrone world number one Judd Trump and climb back to the top of the world rankings.
“I always set goals just to keep my motivation going. If you don’t set goals it is easy to think that I’ve won everything and don’t need to put the work in, get a bit lazy and decide not to go into the club. While you have goals you strive for those wins. Judd is a long way in front, but he will have six tournament wins to defend on his ranking next year. There is still a chance it can happen. I’m going to have to be consistent and win tournaments.
“While you are playing well and are confident, you have to make hay while the sun shines. I won’t be trying any harder than last week. If the form is good then you have a chance. There is no divine right to go to the later stages. You just have to take it one step at a time and see what happens.”
Next week marks the return of the Home Nations Series with the staging of the Matchroom.Live English Open from the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Won last year by Mark Selby, who also claimed the season-opening European Masters just a couple of weeks ago, the English Open dates back to 2016 when Liang Wenbo claimed his maiden ranking event title in Manchester. He was succeeded by Ronnie O’Sullivan a year later, before Stuart Bingham lifted the Steve Davis Trophy in 2018.
As with the majority of the remaining events to be staged in 2020, the English Open will be staged in Milton Keynes as the global coronavirus pandemic continues. There will once again be a first prize of £70,000 to be won, although there will no longer be a bonus for winning all Home Nations events during the season.
The seeding structure of the event remains unchanged with the top 32 players seeded apart until the third round, with the remaining players seeded randomly into the draw. Early rounds will be played over the best of seven frames (no interval), increasing for the quarter-finals (9), semi-finals (11) and final (17).
Once again there has been a strong entry, with all but five (Mei Xiwen, Marco Fu, Bai Langning,Stephen Hendry and Steve Mifsud) of the 128 WST professionals in the main draw. Also missing is Andrew Pagett, whose tour card has been deferred until the 2021/22 season as recently announced.
The tournament will have television broadcast on Eurosport, Quest, PCCW (Hong Kong), Truesport (Thailand), Sky (New Zealand), DAZN (Canada), Astrosport (Malaysia), Sportcast (Taiwan) as well as Liaoning TV and online broadcast in China.
In all other territories it will be available on Matchroom.Live
THE TOP QUARTER
The draw is led by defending champion Mark Selby who could come up against Shaun Murphyin the quarter-finals in what would be a repeat of their recent last four clash at the European Masters.
Before then, Selby is set to open his tournament against China’s Fan Zhengyi, with either Chang Bingyu or Aaron Hill – conqueror of Ronnie O’Sullivan last time out at the Marshall Arena – to come in the last 64.
First up for the Magician however will be Robert Milkins, who defeated Murphy two years ago at the last 32 stage of this tournament in their most recent meeting.
THE SECOND QUARTER
Australia’s Robertson will be looking to extend a 100% record against Lyu Haotian following four previous wins, with either Tian Pengfei or Mark Joyce in wait for the winner. Zhao Xintong is the highest ranked player Robertson could face prior to the last 16, with David Gilbert and Barry Hawkins the established names who could lie in wait at that stage.
He could come up against Crucible quarter-finalist Kurt Maflin, or friend and practice partner Jordan Brown in the last 32, while the likes of Yan Bingtao, Alan McManus, Anthony McGill and the in-form Martin Gould are among those who may provide last 16 opposition.
THE THIRD QUARTER
Continuing a theme from the World Championship and European Masters, world number one Judd Trump and Crucible finalist Kyren Wilson are once again on course to collide at the quarter-final stages next week in Milton Keynes.
Among his highest-ranked opponents in close proximity in the draw are potential last 16 opponents Mark Williams and Gary Wilson, while Michael Holt is the only top 32 player he could face prior to that stage.
For Wilson, who was runner-up at this event to Ronnie O’Sullivan back in 2017, will begin his campaign against Welshman Dominic Dale, with either Gao Yang or Kacper Filipiak to follow at the last 64 stage.
Potential last 16 opponents include 2018 English Open champion Stuart Bingham, or former world champion Graeme Dott, while a mix of tour veterans including Ken Doherty, Fergal O’Brien and Nigel Bond could also lie in wait.
THE BOTTOM QUARTER
First up for O’Sullivan is a clash with talented French amateur Brian Ochoiski, who will be hoping to take inspiration from Aaron Hill’s recent upset of the world number two last month.
Elsewhere, there is a strong Welsh presence in this section of the draw with Ryan Day, Matthew Stevens and amateur Michael White in very close proximity. For Day, he will begin his campaign with a match against English amateur Mark Lloyd, who alongside Connor Benzey, is one of two players nominated to compete in the event by the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards.
Ding Junhui is the other top 16 representative in this section, with the likes of Luca Brecel, Tom Ford and Xiao Guodong (the latter two set to meet in the first round) among the other stand out names who will be looking to run deep next week.
That’s actually not a real preview, but a great opportunity to showcase the new WST players profiles…
Ronnie doesn’t have a particularly easy draw, with Ryan Day possibly waiting in the last 64, Matthew Stevens possibly in the last 32, Jack Lisowski, Thepchaiya Un-nooh or his nemesis Elliot Slessor possibly in the last 16, John higgins possibly in the QF, and Judd Trump possibly in the SF…