A look at how the amateurs and newly qualified pros line up for the second event of the new season.
The snooker schedule for this event is a bit busier as the matches are best of 11 and there will be five matches on the go. The setup from the Riga Masters Qualifiers stays on at Ponds Forge, but with new cloths and at least one more table, for the much more lucrative International Championship, which more of the top players have entered, meaning less amateur top-ups.
The top prize in China is £175,000 and those who make it through the “qualifiers” will be on a guaranteed £4750.
I don’t have the official line on this but it looks like the top 64 are seeded for this one – it was just the top 16 for the Riga Masters qualifiers. For top-ups and new pros, it just means that you are guaranteed to play a top 64 player and obviously have less chance than in a, preferred by many, tiered system.
Saying that, the Riga Masters Qualifiers was littered with shocks and surprises, which gives the powers-that-be more ammunition to claim the flat(ish) 128 draw a success.
So how did the new pros and top-ups fare at the Riga Masters Qualifiers and who do they face here?
Peter Lines was beaten 4-1 by Lee Walker but can look forward now to a trip to China to play No 1 seed Mark Allen, as the match has been held over to the main arena.
Bai Langning hasn’t kicked off his pro career yet as he received a walk over from Tian Pengfei. He now faces Mark Davis and the match is scheduled for the Eurosport Player.
Mitchell Mann lost 4-0 to Mike Dunn and has another tough one here against Ali Carter.
Andy Hicks will be on the Player for his match against Alan McManus after losing 4-0 to Luca Brecel.
Q School top-up, Long Zehuang, lost 4-2 to Sam Craigie and now faces Kurt Maflin to earn a trip home to China.
Q School Event 3 winner, Alex Borg, will face Daniel Wells after losing 4-0 to Tom Ford.
David Grace did well in beating Alfie Burdon 4-2 and now hopes to continue in this form when he faces Antony Hamilton.
Louis Heathcote had arguably the result of the week in beating Ryan Day 4-3 . He now faces Noppon Saengkham.
Jackson Page had a great start to his rookie season with a 4-0 win over Hammad Miah and will face Michael White.
Chang Bingyu, the 16-year-old from China also had a great start by beating Ian Burns 4-2 and will face Michael Georgiou.
Riley Parsons faces Shaun Murphy, but Murphy’s loss to Zhang Anda leaves one wondering if his passion is on the golf course at the moment. Parsons kicked off his pro career this week with a ton in his first ever pro frame but lost 4-2 to Lucas Kleckers.
Chen Zifan qualified from Q School 2 and beat Michael Georgiou 4-2. He will now face Ricky Walden.
Alexander Ursenbacher, who dropped off the tour last season but won through Q School 3, beat Hamza Akbar 4-1 and now faces Robert Milkins.
Lei Peifan finished as one of the 4 to earn a 2-year card via the OoM but lost 4-1 to Allan Taylor. He now faces Gary Wilson.
Sohail Vahedi finished last season ranked 103 but bounced back via Q School 1 and beat Andreas Ploner 4-0. He now faces Peter Ebdon.
David Lilley won in Q School Event 1 but lost 4-2 to Jack Lisowski and now faces Ken Doherty.
James Cahill marked his return to the pro ranks with a fine 4-0 win over Jimmy White. He now faces David Gilbert.
Si Jiahui finished top of the OoM but lost 4-1 to Ricky Walden, and now faces Liam Highfield.
Brandon Sargeant topped the 2018/19 Challenge Tour to earn his 2-year main tour ticket and won his first match as a pro, beating Ashley Carty 4-2. He plays Kyren Wilson on Monday as Sargeant is playing in the English Amateur Championships this weekend.
Billy Joe Castle came through Q School via the OoM but lost 4-1 to Alan McManus. He now faces Robbie Williams.
Fraser Patrick won his way back to the pro ranks in Q School 2 but lost 4-2 to fellow Scot, Scott Donaldson . He now faces Tom Ford.
Xu Si finished 77th on the main tour last season but immediately bounced back via Q School 1. He lost 4-1 to Ali Carter and will now play Andrew Higginson.
Barry Pinches won his card at the end of Q School Event 3 but lost 4-2 to Luo Honghao. He now faces Jimmy Robertson.
Ross Bulman is a Q School top-up and was beaten 4-1 by Michael Holt. H now faces Chris Wakelin.
Kacper Filipiak will face Stuart Carrington after beating Zhao Xintong 4-3.
Jamie O’Neill had a fantastic result in beating Barry Hawkins 4-1 and now plays Stephen McGuire. The match is scheduled for Monday as O’Neill is playing in the English Amateur Championships this weekend.
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