Indian Open 2015: Tournament Preview


Following a week of invitational events in Blackpool, ranking event snooker returns next week with the second edition of the Indian Open, which this year will be held in Mumbai, having moved from New Delhi.

With the field having been narrowed down to 64 players in Barnsley earlier in the year, plus six wildcards including 2013 quarter-finalist Pankaj Advani, the race is on to win prize money which with three events to go could yet be crucial for the upcoming World Championship.

Click below for my tournament preview…

  • Click here to view the draw for the venue stages of the Indian Open
  • Click here to view the order of play in Mumbai
  • Click here to view the latest projected seedings

Having originally been scheduled to be staged earlier in the season, only to be postponed due to the calling of a local state election, the Indian Open now gets underway in Mumbai this week, with Ding Junhui looking to mount a successful defence of another of the five titles that he won last season.

Again, the tournament is notable for a number of absentees, with half of the top 16 not making the trip to India, although beyond that group there is generally a strong field with most of the other top 64 players having entered.

As far as the race for places at the World Championship is concerned, the likes of Mark Williams, Robert Milkins and Graeme Dott are present, but Stephen Maguire, the man currently holding on to the 16th and final automatic Crucible place, will not be competing in the event. Whether this decision will come back to haunt him in a month’s time remains to be seen, but it certainly presents those immediately below him such as Milkins and Dott with an important chance to make up some ground to the Scot.

In terms of those already inside the top 16 as it stands, there are also opportunities for players to gain a theoretically better seeding for the World Championship, although in reality whether the players themselves will be too concerned about that remains to be seen.

Ranking permutations aside though, there is a ranking event title on the line and with some of the regular tournament winners not present, there is a real opportunity for some of the other players to take advantage and make a breakthrough.

In terms of television coverage, unfortunately British Eurosport will not be carrying the event, so it looks like we will be restricted to the usual betting streams on sites such as bet365, or for those of you who have that subscription.

To the draw…

The Top Quarter

Heading the top quarter of the draw is defending champion Ding Junhui, who will desperately looking to find some form ahead of next month’s World Championship after what has been a disappointing season to date.

Following his latest setback at the hands of Lee Walker in Cardiff, he should face Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh first up in Mumbai (wildcard permitting), before a match against either Welsh Open semi-finalist Luca Brecel or World Seniors Championship runner-up Fergal O’Brien.

Matthew Stevens, who showed signs of a return to form at his home tournament with victory against Ronnie O’Sullivan and will be hoping to maintain a place inside the top 32 ahead of the World Championship, could lie in wait in the last 16, although German Masters semi-finalist Liang Wenbo and Welshman Jamie Jones will hope to have something to say about that.


Over in the other half of the quarter are the likes of Welsh Open champion John Higgins, who now looks secure inside the top 16 after adding £60,000 to his total in Cardiff, while Mark Davis will be one of those players looking to run deep and close the gap to the absent Stephen Maguire.

He begins with a match against Anthony Hamilton, before potentially a match with either Anthony McGill or Tom Ford, McGill having been a quarter-finalist at this event back in 2013.

The Second Quarter

Over in the second half of the draw, the likes of Ali Carter, Joe Perry and Ricky Walden will on paper be the favourites to make it through to the quarter-finals, but who could trouble them in the early rounds?

Perry begins with a potentially tricky tie against Scotland’s Marcus Campbell, who after a difficult period now looks to have found some form and needs to win as many matches as possible between now and the end of the season if he is to remain on the main tour for next season. Looking at their head to head record, Marcus has won their last three meetings (although two of them did come in the Championship League), while Joe has not beaten him since the 2009 Grand Prix.

Perry1Other danger men could include Cardiff runner-up Ben Woollaston and Scotland’s Alan McManus, the latter facing a tricky opening round match against Shoot Out semi-finalist Kyren Wilson.

Perhaps the main local interest here though will be home favourite Aditya Mehta, who memorably made it all the way to the final of this tournament back in 2013 and will hoping that home advantage helps him again this time around.

First up for him will be Mark King, who has been gaining some better results of late and notably has won all four of his previous matches with Mehta, before the winner could face Ricky Walden at the last 32 stage.

The Third Quarter

Perhaps the most interesting quarter of the draw is the third, with Judd Trump, Mark Williams, Robert Milkins and Graeme Dott all present

In particular, it is good to see that Judd has entered the event and it will be worth keeping an eye on him as remarkably he has now lost to the winner of the last three professional tournaments that he has entered, overall losing to the eventual champion on eight occasions already this season. He opens his title bid in India with a match against Peter Lines, before potentially a meeting with either Gary Wilson, or one of his friends on tour, Sheffield’s Adam Duffy.


Elsewhere in his section, Mark Williams will be hoping to cement his position inside the top 16 in Mumbai and begins with a match against amateur Eden Sharav, while the experienced Peter Ebdon will be hoping that ‘vegan power’ can at least take him past the tour’s youngest player Zhou Yuelong in his opening match.

The bottom half of this quarter could though be crucial for the upcoming World Championship seedings, with both Robert Milkins and Graeme Dott present and on course to meet at the last 16 stage of the competition. Amongst those hoping to stop them will be Irish duo Ken Doherty and David Morris, as well as the experienced Joe Swail and Mike Dunn.

With an opening round match against Dott, Finland’s Robin Hull will also be looking to gain important prize money, with time running out for him to earn enough money to claim a place inside the top 64 at the end of the season.

The Bottom Quarter

Finally we come to the bottom quarter, which looks to be the most open section, with second seed Barry Hawkins having withdrawn from the event in qualifying.

On paper, Marco Fu looks to be favourite to emerge from this section, but the likes of Ryan Day, Matt Selt and newly-crowned Shoot Out champion Michael White in particular will be looking to make a mark in Mumbai.


One man who I do fancy to go far here however is another local man in Pankaj Advani, who of course lost out to countryman Aditya Mehta at the quarter-final stage of this event in 2013. With plenty of experience, home advantage and on paper at least an inviting draw this week, it will be very interesting to see how he gets on.

Of the lower ranked players, Li Hang is a player that I have always felt is better than his ranking would perhaps suggest and could go on a run here, while Joel Walker and Chris Wakelin are also promising young players who will be looking to win a few matches this week.


SF: Perry def McGill, Trump def Advani

F: Trump def Perry