A disappointing first round exit for Mark Selby in this year’s World Championship was not the way he wanted to end a tough season.
The world number one and defending champion crashed out of the tournament on the opening day after suffering a 10-4 loss to Joe Perry.
It ended a tough campaign on the green baize for Selby who had failed to reach the top form he hit twelve months before when he sealed a third World Championship crown.
Despite this he still managed to win two major ranking events last season – winning both the International Championship and the China Open.
Now the Leicester star is keen to start the season on a morale-boosting high and ensure his rare early World Championship exit is soon forgotten about with success in the World Open.
The event is second major ranking event of the season following the Riga Masters which was held last week. It starts on Monday with the final taking place on Sunday, August 12.
Selby set off for China very early (last Saturday), and even tweeted a picture of him enjoying a flight to the Far East which appeared to show he was keen to prepare well for the major ranking event – the first this season for Selby after withdrawing from the Riga Masters.
And yesterday he won the non-ranking event – the Haining Open – to give his preparations the best tonic ahead of the opening day.
Selby will kick start the major ranking tournament, which will see the winner win a mega £150,000, against Elliot Slessor – a player who beat five-times world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan TWICE last season.
Last year saw China’s very own Ding Junhui take the title when he comfortably beat Kyren Wilson 10-3 to win the trophy.
Ding’s title defence starts with a match against Thailand legend James Wattana.
Australian Neil Robertson, who a week ago won the Riga Masters after beating Jack Lisowski, will take on wildcard entrant He Guoqiang.
World champion Mark Williams takes on new boy on tour Lukas Kleckers from Germany in the first round.
The World Open Draw
Ding Junhui or James Wattana vs Yuan Sijun
Robert Milkins vs David Lilley
Marco Fu vs Peter Ebdon
Liang Wenbo or James Cahill vs Andrew Higginson
Matthew Stevens vs David Gilbert (Stevens has withdrawn)
Rory McLeod vs Ali Carter
Dominic Dale vs Ricky Walden
Andy Lee vs Neil Robertson or He Guoqiang
Barry Hawkins vs Sunny Akani
Michael Holt vs Mark Davis
Lee Walker vs Matthew Selt
Yan Bingtao or Ashley Carty vs Stuart Carrington
Fergal O’Brien vs Zhao Xintong
Scott Donaldson vs Luca Brecel
Gary Wilson vs Tom Ford
Martin O’Donnell vs Judd Trump
Mark Selby vs Elliot Slessor
Zhou Yuelong vs Jamie Jones
Ryan Day vs Robbie Williams
Rod Lawler vs Noppon Saengkham
Michael Georgiou vs Xiao Guodong
Jak Jones vs Zhang Anda
Mark Joyce vs Anthony Hamilton
Simon Lichtenberg vs Mei Xi Wen
Kyren Wilson vs Paul Davison
Harvey Chandler vs Kurt Maflin
Mark Allen vs Lyu Haotian
Jack Lisowski vs Chris Wakelin
Mike Dunn or Luo Zetao vs Joe Perry
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh vs Stephen Maguire
Ben Woollaston or Bai Langning vs Jimmy Robertson or Chang Bingyu
Alexander Ursenbacher vs Mark Williams or Lukas Kleckers