SEVERAL of snooker’s biggest names will be looking to shine in Wales next week when they compete in one of the sport’s newest events.
The Ladbrokes World Grand Prix returns for its second year from Tuesday (March 8) with the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson. Stuart Bingham, John Higgins and defending champion Judd Trump looking to claim the £100,000 prize and title at Venue Cymru in Llandudno.
Trump won the first Grand Prix event last year after beating Ronnie O’Sullivan with an impressive comeback.
The ranking tournament will be televised on ITV4 which has been praised by many associated with snooker for its quality of coverage recently in other events such as the Champion of Champions and the Snooker Shoot Out.
And with the countdown to snooker’s biggest event – the World Championship – only weeks away, all 32 players will want to hit some good form in front of the cameras ahead of the season’s climax.
All 32 players competing have qualified for the event by gaining the most most ranking money during the season starting from the World Championship last year. Only Ricky Walden is absent from snooker’s elite top 16 stars after failing to get the money needed for qualification.
Trump, who earlier this week won the Championship League beating O’Sullivan in the final, begins his title defence with a first round match against former world champion Mark Williams.
Fresh from winning the Welsh Open and the Masters. O’Sullivan will take on Michael Holt in the opening round and world number one Mark Selby takes on Tom Ford.
Reigning world champion Stuart Bingham, who has struggled for success this season, will be hoping to return to form next week and begins his bid for Grand Prix glory against David Gilbert.
John Higgins, who finished top of the pile in qualification earning more than £200,000 including winning ranking titles in Australia and China’s International Championship, plays fellow Scot Stephen Maguire.
First Round Draw
John Higgins vs Stephen Maguire
Matthew Selt vs Ryan Day
Judd Trump vs Mark Williams
David Gilbert vs Stuart Bingham
Mark Selby vs Tom Ford
Luca Brecel vs Ali Carter
Joe Perry vs Barry Hawkins
Kyren Wilson vs Jamie Jones
Martin Gould vs Tian Pengfei
Shaun Murphy vs Michael White
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Michael Holt
Liang Wenbo vs Graeme Dott
Mark Allen vs David Grace
Marco Fu vs Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Ben Woollaston vs Ding Junhui
Neil Robertson vs Peter Ebdon