WST has published the draw and format for the coming 2021 Gibraltar Open. That tournament is actually the last survivor of the PTC era. It’s best of 7 from start to finish, and in a “normal” year it involves amateurs, with the pro stages played over three days.
It will be different this year for obvious reasons. No amateurs other than the top ups and played over seven days on just four tables.
Hendry To Face Selt On Comeback
Stephen Hendry will play his first professional match for nine years next week when he faces Matthew Selt in the first round of the BetVictor Gibraltar Open.
The draw for the world ranking event has been made, with the top 16 players seeded and all others drawn at random. Hendry’s opponent Selt is ranked 25th in the world and won the Indian Open in 2019. That match will take place on Tuesday March 2nd at 7pm, televised live by Eurosport. The event will run from March 1st to 7th in Milton Keynes.
Seven-time World Champion Hendry retired from the pro circuit in 2012, but last year accepted the offer of an invitational tour card for two seasons.
The 52-year-old Scot told ITV Sport: “I’m looking forward to it and I am prepared for any result. In practice I am hitting the ball better than I did when I retired, but that means nothing when you are out there. I have no expectations. I have been practising with Matt as we’re friends. He will be under pressure – he can’t lose to me surely!”
The BetVictor Gibraltar Open is the sixth and final event of the 2020/21 BetVictor European Series. The leader of the final Order of Merit will earn a £150,000 bonus. Judd Trump currently leads the way with £124,500, ahead of Mark Selby with £118,000. Selby must reach the final of the Gibraltar event to have a chance of landing the bonus.
Trump, the defending champion, will face Robbie Williams in the first round while Selby will meet Sam Craigie. Jordan Brown also has a chance of winning the bonus but must win the tournament – his first round opponent will be Rod Lawler.
World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will face Ali Carter while John Higgins will meet teenage rookie Jamie Wilson.
Details of how to watch the tournament on Eurosport and other broadcasters will be released soon.
Stephen Hendry is due to play on the Tuesday evening, Ronnie on the Wednesday evening. It’s fair to say that Ronnie has got a particularly tricky first round match. Neither him, nor Ali will be too happy with this draw I guess.
As for Stephen Hendry, I’m not sure what to expect. He hasn’t really performed on the Seniors tour and the main tour is much harder. On the other hand, he has delayed his return in order to prepare better and avoid embarrassment. I don’t expect him to beat Selt, but I hope that he will not get humiliated. He has to start somewhere…