World Grand Prix Snooker: O’Sullivan and Trump star among top 32 contenders
Lee Gormley | March 7, 2016
World Grand Prix Snooker
- World Grand Prix
- Starts Tuesday, March 8th
- First break-off: 13:00 GMT
- Venue Cymru, Llandudno, Wales
- Live on ITV4
O’Sullivan and Trump star in Wales
The top 32 snooker stars from a year-long ranking system will embark on their trails towards World Grand Prix success in Llandudno this week, with Masters and Welsh Open champion Ronnie O’Sullivan among those contesting this crown.
The line-up comprises of players from a unique ranking list which ran from the beginning of the season until last month’s Gdynia Open in Poland, and O’Sullivan is 15/8 with Coral to triumph, after qualifying with his recent Welsh Open coup.
In what is likely to be the Rocket’s final competitive tournament appearance before the World Championship at the Crucible next month, he faces Michael Holt in Tuesday’s evening session, which also sees Mark Allen collide with Leeds potter David Grace.
Opening the event is a clash between Joe Perry and Barry Hawkins, while Neil Robertson takes on Peter Ebdon and John Higgins contests compatriot Stephen Maguire in the biggest tie of day one.
Both Scots are involved in a testing Quarter 1, with defending champion Judd Trump 11/8 favourite to progress from this section and Mark Williams an outside 8/1.
Trump tackles Williams on second day
In Wednesday’s baize battles, reigning Crucible king Stuart Bingham gets play underway against David Gilbert, though Bristol’s Trump collides with home hope Williams in the pick of this exciting second day.
In the evening meetings, Shaun Murphy pits his wits against Welsh potter Michael White and young Belgian cueist Luca Brecel contests the Captain Ali Carter. Both break builders have been drawn in Quarter 2, alongside world number one Mark Selby, who is 6/5 to win the section overall.
In Quarter 3, five-time world champion O’Sullivan leads the way, though the Magician (9/2 to win) and last year’s UK Championship finalist Liang Wenbo will look to make an impact.
Robertson leads Quarter 4 expectations
Formidable Australian Robertson is the heavy frontrunner for Quarter 4 success, but this tough section also features Northern Ireland’s Allen (4/1), astute Chinese potter Ding Junhui (5/1) and consistent cueist Marco Fu (13/2).
Fan favourite O’Sullivan, Robertson and Trump are the leading three for glory at the Welsh venue, though rejuvenated Scot Higgins is 16/1 for victory, while Chinese force Ding is 33/1 to prevail.
All eyes will soon be focused on Sheffield, as the world’s best break-off at the Crucible Theatre for the 2016 World Snooker Championship, though a Grand Prix win should gift the victor plenty of momentum going into the season’s showcase event.