The 2021 Pro Series Draw and Stephen Hendry’s return

The Draw for the first stage of the 2021 Pro Series has been published by WST:

WST Pro Series Draw

The group draw for the new WST Pro Series has been made. Stephen Hendry is set to make his long-awaited comeback, while the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump and Mark Selby are also among the 128-man field.

Click here to watch the draw. The groups are:

Group A
Shaun Murphy
Michael Holt
Alan McManus
Louis Heathcote
Xu Si
Ken Doherty
Fraser Patrick
Brian Ochoiski

Group B
Kyren Wilson
Li Hang
Yuan Sijun
Sunny Akani
Pang Junxu
Kacper Filipiak
Aaron Hill
Fan Zhengyi

Group C
Stuart Bingham
Scott Donaldson
Sam Craigie
Chris Wakelin
Jamie Clarke
Ashley Carty
Billy Castle
Jamie Curtis-Barrett

Group D
Barry Hawkins
Ricky Walden
Jimmy Robertson
Alexander Ursenbacher
Gerard Greene
Duane Jones
Farakh Ajaib
Paul Davison

Group E
Mark Selby
Matthew Selt
Joe O’Connor
Stuart Carrington
Eden Sharav
Soheil Vahedi
Lukas Kleckers
Daniel Womersley

Group F
Mark Allen
Ben Woollaston
Noppon Saengkham
David Grace
Igor Figueiredo
Jordan Brown
Riley Parsons
Fergal O’Brien

Group G
Gary Wilson
Lu Ning
Martin O’Donnell
Liam Highfield
Jamie O’Neill
Zhao Jianbo
Rory McLeod
Stephen Hendry

Group H
Yan Bingtao
Ali Carter
Mark Davis
Tian Pengfei
Chang Bingyu
Simon Lichtenberg
Amine Amiri
Kuldesh Johal

Group I
Ronnie O’Sullivan
Tom Ford
Lyu Hoatian
Mark Joyce
Chen Zifan
David Lilley
Ben Hancorn
Jamie Wilson

Group J
David Gilbert
Martin Gould
Elliot Slessor
Ian Burns
James Cahill
Peter Lines
Oliver Lines
Iulian Boiko

Group K
Anthony McGill
Zhao Xintong
Mark King
Dominic Dale
Andy Hicks
Si Jiahui
Peter Devlin
Lee Walker

Group L
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Zhou Yuelong
Anthony Hamilton
Luo Honghao
Mitchell Mann
Lei Peifan
Ashley Hugill
Leo Fernandez

Group M
Joe Perry
Xiao Guodong
Matthew Stevens
Daniel Wells
Jak Jones
Rod Lawler
Allan Taylor
Haydon Pinhey

Group N
Jack Lisowski
Graeme Dott
Luca Brecel
Andrew Higginson
Jackson Page
Brandon Sargeant
Zak Surety
Michael White

Group O
Judd Trump
Hossein Vafaei
Ryan Day
Jamie Jones
Barry Pinches
Jimmy White
Steven Hallworth
Sean Maddocks

Group P
Mark Williams
Kurt Maflin
Robert Milkins
Nigel Bond
Robbie Williams
Gao Yang
Alex Borg
Oliver Brown

The schedule and details of how to watch will be confirmed in due course.

The new WST Pro Series will have total prize money of £420,500. The innovative world ranking event will take place for the first time in 2021 at Arena MK in Milton Keynes.

Players are split into 16 groups of eight for the initial round-robin phase. All matches are best of three frames, and the top two in each group will progress to the second group stage.

The second phase will feature 32 players split into four groups of eight. Once again the top two in each group will go forward.

The player who finishes top of the final group of eight players will be crowned the champion.

The dates for the event are:

January 18-25: Groups one to eight
March 9-16: Groups nine to 16
March 17-20: Second group stage
March 21: Final group

Prize money will be as follows:

First group stage
Winner: £4,000
Runner-up: £3,000
3rd Place: £2,500
4th Place:  £2,000
5th Place: £1,500
6th Place: £1,000
7th Place: £500
8th Place: £0

Second group stage
Winner: £10,000
Runner-up: £7,500
3rd place: £5,000
4th place: £4,000
5th place: £3,000
6th place: £2,000
7th place: £1,500
8th place: £1,000

Final group stage
Winner: £20,000
Runner-up: £10,000
3rd place: £7,500
4th place: £5,000
5th place: £4,000
6th place: £3,000
7th place: £2,000
8th place: £1,000

If, like me, you are confused about the groups being “named” by a letter, and then, when it’s about the schedule, the letters being replaced by numbers … here is the explanation I got from Ivan Hirschowitz : it’s because, although the “composition” of the groups are known, the order in which they will play is yet to be decided… so it’s not that Group A is the same as Group 1 f.i.

Four members of the top 16 gave the event a miss: John Higgins, Stephen Maguire, Ding Junhui and Neil Robertson. The latter also withdrew from the Championship League this week.

The big news of course is Stephen Hendry’s return in Group G. It’s a good idea to come back in a rather minor event, where he will play intensively for one day and face different opponents, with different styles. I would be surprised if he gets through to the second stage though. However, he has to start somewhere, and this is a good place IMO.

 

 

3 thoughts on “The 2021 Pro Series Draw and Stephen Hendry’s return

  1. Come on Stephen Hendry how id love to see you win again..Players only took your records because you retired nearly 9 years ago..You.ll still have players under pressure before your matches began because they kniw Your the Greatest player that ever picked up a que..Goodluck and all the best for 2021🍺

    • Welcome Peter. Regarding Hendry, if you really believe that he would have added to his tally had he stayed on the tour, I’m afraid that you are badly deluded. Look at the facts: his last win had been in 2005, in the Malta Cup, and his last final had been in 2006 at the UK Championship. He wasn’t winning anything for over six years, he wasn’t even reaching finals. He has played on the Seniors Tour for the last three seasons, and even on that tour he hasn’t won anything, he hasn’t even reached a single final. I was at his press conference in 2012 when he annouced his retirement. He was mainly relieved. He had hated his last years on the tour. He always hated losing. I have been a most Seniors event since that tour started, and have come to know Stephen pretty well. What I wish for him is to be able to enjoy playing and competing agaiin, to be happy at the table again. If he can do that, it will be a great personal victory, and then maybe, only maybe … results might come.

  2. Actually, until the schedule is released, it’s not certain that Stephen Hendry might not play in other events first, with the Welsh Open and Gibraltar possible.

    It’s going to take a decent effort by broadcasters to make sense of this tournament.

    Other absentees are Liang, Fu, Mei and Mifsud. I’m surprised it isn’t more, with 7 best-of-3 matches in one day being somewhat of a circus. Also, one of the players on that list has his name incorrectly spelled, not for the first time, and usually routinely mispronounced horribly

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