After a three week summer break snooker returns in the beautiful Baltic city of Riga. While the future of the European Tour events remains uncertain, at least for the time being they provide top quality snooker in lesser known snooker hot spots.
This section is headlined by World Number 1 and defending champion Mark Selby and he has a potential quarter final showdown with Mark Allen, in a repeat of last year’s thrilling final. Mark Allen’s form can be up and down and coming off an extended break it might be more likely that former World Champion Graeme Dott comes through. If you are looking for an upset a resurgent Jamie Jones could face Graeme in a more unexpected quarter final line up.
Mark Selby v Mark Allen
Jamie Jones v Graeme Dott (Alternative pick)
On paper this looks a very competitive section of the draw, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see any of Barry Hawkins, Anthony McGill, Michael White, Stephen Maguire, Alan McManus, Kurt Maflin, Stephen Maguire or Judd Trump coming through. I can see a fascinating battle between Anthony McGill and Michael White happening in the third round, a battle of the future stars?
Judd Trump will be the favourite to progress to the quarter finals, however he will potentially have to beat Stephen Maguire who has made a good start to the season with one semi final and a runner up spot in the opening two events.
Anthony McGill v Judd Trump
Peter Ebdon has been drawn against Nigel Bond in the first round, although almost certainly not going to feature on the TV table; this would have been an interesting nostalgic match. This section feels a bit more straight forward, I can see Shaun Murphy progressing to the quarter finals, although Matthew Selt might provide stiff competition. In that quarter final I can see Joe Perry squaring off with his old friend. Look out for Kyren Wilson, after exploding onto the scene he has had a disappointing few months and hopefully a new season will reinvigorate his progress.
Shaun Murphy v Joe Perry
Newly crowned World Champion Stuart Bingham headlines this section and it’ll be interesting to see if he has recovered from the enormity of his achievements in May, my guess would be we won’t see the best of Stuart until the UK events start in November. Therefore this section will be won by John Higgins, with a title and a runner up spot in the opening two events he’s made a flying start. His ranking title in Australia came 23 years after his first ranking title, a truly incredible feat.
Originally I had Martin Gould facing John Higgins in the quarter final however he has subsequently pulled out, so I’m going to go for Ricky Walden.
John Higgins v Ricky Walden
Mark Selby v Anthony McGill
Shaun Murphy v John Higgins
Mark Selby v John Higgins