Indian Open 2013: Tournament Preview

Don’t panic, two players who will certainly not be withdrawing from the inaugural Indian Open are Pankaj Advani and Aditya Mehta, but today it has become clear that at least seven of the 64 qualifiers will not be making the trip to India for the venue stages of the event.

Click below for a round-up of what we know so far, as well as a few other pointers ahead of the tournament…

  • Click here to view the drawsheet for the Indian Open
  • Click here to view the match schedule

Following the qualifiers for the event which took place at the Doncaster Dome back in August, this coming week will see the venue stages of the event played out over five days in New Delhi.

As you may remember, up to and including the semi-finals, all matches will be played over the best of just seven frames, with the final being over the best of nine.

Presumably a necessity due to the sheer amount of matches to be played in just five days, the shortened format does mean that the event will have something of a ‘PTC’ feel about it and I do wonder whether it might have been preferable to have played an additional round in Doncaster and taken just 32 to India. Of course though, that goes against what World Snooker are trying to do at the moment, with their aim understandably to see as many players in action at the venues as possible.

Aside from the frame length, another disappointment is that the tournament will not be broadcast by Eurosport this week, however the latest news would appear to be that livestreaming is likely to be available for the duration of the tournament on the usual betting sites, so we will at least be able to watch the action in some form.

Such grievances aside however, it is always good to see a new overseas snooker event and it will be fascinating to see how well supported the event is locally and looking ahead to future seasons, whether it will lead to the sort of boom that we have seen in countries such as China and Germany.

Central to such potential growth will no doubt be the performances of homegrown duo Pankaj Advani and Aditya Mehta, who thankfully both qualified for the venue with opening round wins in Doncaster.

Pankaj in particular is extremely well known in India due to his billiards success and gave a nice interview today which you can read here, in which he uses the analogy of billiards being his first love and snooker this mistress, which I quite liked.

He will open his campaign against Marcus Campbell on Tuesday, while Mehta takes on Peter Ebdon on Monday.

Elsewhere, the tournament will see six other Indian players in action as wildcards on the opening day, although one will advance straight to the last 64 following the withdrawal of Liam Highfield today.

In fact at the time of writing there have been seven withdrawals from the event, Liam citing the cyclone currently affecting India for his decision not to travel, while On Q stablemate Kyren Wilson has been forced to pull out due to shoulder problems, his management company tweeting:

“Kyren had to withdraw due to a shoulder injury. He was gutted as he’s riding the crest of a wave at the moment!…He loved China and was excited to visit India so it was a difficult decision. He was prescribed medication earlier…”

Elsewhere, David Gilbert has apparently taken the decision to withdraw in order to attend the funeral of a close friend, while Anthony Hamilton, Yu Delu, Tony Drago and Ali Carter have also withdrawn for unspecified reasons.

Nevertheless, there remains a strong field with the likes of Neil Robertson, Ding Junhui, Stephen Maguire, John Higgins, Mark Selby and Mark Allen among the biggest names in the draw.

While it is becoming increasingly difficult in snooker to look too far ahead in tournament drawsheets, it is notable for me that perhaps the two best players in the world at the moment in Neil Robertson and Ding Junhui, are poised to meet as early as the quarter-finals, although Ding could have to play John Higgins in the last 16 to make it even that far.

Other early match-ups could be Mark Selby and Mark Williams at the last 32 stage, as well as Mark Davis and Stephen Maguire relatively early on.

As ever, all of the quick links to follow the tournament are in the right hand side-bar of this blog, while I will endeavour to tweet the latest updates during the course of the week.


Semi-Finals: Robertson def Hawkins, Selby def Davis

Final: Robertson def Selby