The spectacular city of Guangzhou in southern China is the location for the fourth world ranking event of the season next week – the Evergrande China Championship.
Star names including Ding Junhui, Mark Williams, Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, John Higgins and defending champion Luca Brecel are among the field at the £725,000 event (click here for the match schedule).
The tournament was first staged as a 16-man invitation event in 2016. John Higgins knocked out Mark Williams, Ali Carter and Mark Allen to reach the final, where he faced Stuart Bingham. The match – and a top prize of £200,000 – was in the balance at 7-7. Then Higgins underlined his status as one of snooker’s all-time greats with a stunning finish, firing runs of 134, 100 and 101 to win 10-7.
“It’s a dream come true to finish a match off like that with three centuries, especially for such a big prize and a big tournament,” said the Wizard of Wishaw.”I don’t think I’ve ever finished a final like that, so it proves to me that I can still do it under extreme pressure. This is the first time I have been to Guangzhou, it’s a great city and I have really enjoyed it.”
In 2017, the tournament became a ranking event for the first time. Luca Brecel’s path to the final saw him knock out the likes of Marco Fu and Ronnie O’Sullivan. The young Belgian then became the first player from continental Europe to win a ranking title by beating Shaun Murphy 10-5.
“It means so much to me to win a tournament, especially beating a lot of good players and coming from 4-1 down to beat Ronnie,” said Brecel. “This is a big milestone because it puts me in the top 16. This is what we need in Belgium because you can see what Kim Clijsters has done for tennis there – hopefully I can do the same for snooker. This is the first step.”
Watch this year’s Evergrande China Championship on Eurosport – click here for UK listings.
Tickets for the tournament are on sale now – for details click here