The second day of qualifying for the Welsh Open sees a full slate of matches being played as the bigger names begin to come out to play on a Wednesday where there are four sessions inside the Aldersley Arena in Wolverhampton.
That means we have 16 players on show on Wednesday with them each having the same agenda – to pick up the four frames the need to book their spot in the main draw in Newport later in the month.
Lu Ning is the highest ranked player on show in the morning session and he’ll be on the main table. He has been pretty active so far this year playing in the Championship League and things and he’ll be looking to use that to his advantage in this session. He meets the veteran Lee Walker who will be eager to qualify for his home event. The other match in this session sees another Welsh player looking to make it through to plan in front of his home crowd as Andrew Pagett meets the German player Simon Lichtenberg.
Early Afternoon Session
Another Welsh player heads up the first of the two afternoon sessions on Wednesday when Jak Jones looks to make it safety through to his home tournament. Jones hasn’t been at his best recently but he’ll be determined to overcome the challenge of Sunny Akani to play in his home event. The other match first up in the afternoon session sees two veterans of the tour meeting each other when Mark Davis takes on an Alfie Burden who could do with a few wins to make staying on the tour in his second year of his card a little easier.
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Late Afternoon Session
Luca Brecel is the highest ranked player at these qualifiers this week. He won the previous Home Nations event when he took down the Scottish Open in fine style and given that tournament was eventually held in Wales he’ll be looking for a Welsh double over the next few weeks. To set up an opportunity for that he’ll need to take care of Rory McLeod. The other match in this session sees the former German Masters winner Anthony Hamilton going up against a Lyu Haotian who is slowly getting forgotten about with the success of his compatriots Zhao Xintong and Yan Bingtao.
Two matches round off the day in the evening session and the one on the main table will see the recent Snooker Shootout winner Hossein Vafaei on show. His season has been so good to date that he qualified for the Players Championship last week. He’ll probably need another tournament win if he is going to make it to the Tour Championship and that will need to begin when he takes on Andrew Higginson, who is a former finalist in this event. Mark King has won a Home Nations event in the past and he’ll look to qualify for another when he takes on Liam Highfield.
I’ll take one bet over the course of the day and that comes in the form of Lyu Haotian to beat Anthony Hamilton. I’m a big fan of Hamilton but there is something he doesn’t seem to like when it comes to playing the Chinese player. These two men have met on four previous occasions. Haotian won the first three 5-0, 6-1 and 4-2 and although Hamilton won their most recent meeting in this tournament two years ago, he won in a deciding frame when he was 3-0 down so he was well on the way to being beaten again before a freak turnaround.
Haotian probably hasn’t had the season he would have wanted so far but he has a couple of wins over Ali Carter, one of which got him to the German Masters where he ran into a truck in Mark Allen. Since then he has taken care of Fergal O’Brien to make it into the Turkish Masters so his season looks to be turning around. Hamilton also qualified for the Turkish Masters but he hasn’t done a whole lot other than make it to the last 16 of the UK Championship and he was lucky to get that far as Mark Williams led him 4-2 but then felt the aftereffects of Covid. I like the way the season is trending for the Chinese player and he’s my bet here.
Back L.Haotian to beat A.Hamilton for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with Coral
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