The Northern Ireland Open takes place this week in Milton Keynes ahead of next Monday’s UK Championship and Judd Trump is looking to win the tournament for a third successive year, having gotten the better of Ronnie O’Sullivan in the last two finals.
World champion O’Sullivan was knocked out of the recent Champion of Champions tournament by eventual winner Mark Allen after a fiery row in their quarter-final clash.
And 44-year-old O’Sullivan is still looking for a first Northern Ireland title since the event began in 2016 and will hope to make Sunday’s final.
The Alex Higgins trophy has been won by world No 1 Trump in the past two years, beating O’Sullivan 9-7 in each final.
The Englishman, 31, will be keen for further glory at the Marshall Arena in MK, with the tournament moved from its usual Belfast location due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump won the English Open last month, beating Neil Robertson, and is the bookies’ favourite alongside O’Sullivan.
Champion of Champions winner Allen, Robertson, Mark Selby and Kyren Wilson are among the other threats.
Northern Irishman Allen said heading into this week: “It has really only begun to sink in that the NI Open will be played in Milton Keynes. It’s tough to take. I was always lucky enough to have a big support at the tournament.
“Most of my friends and family would have been there. I usually needed between 80 and 100 tickets. There’s a lot of pressure when you play in the NI Open and also a great sense of pride as everybody is supporting you.
“I’ve played in it for the last four years but it will be a very different tournament this time with no crowd. It will have a very different feel.
You can see all the latest scores and updates from the 2020 Northern Ireland Open below.
Northern Ireland Open order of play
Mitchell Mann 2-4 Gao Yang
Simon Lichtenberg 1-4 Rod Lawler
Paul S Davison 3-4 Andy Hicks
Gary Wilson 2-4 Rory McLeod
Tian Pengfei vs Noppon Saengkham w/o (Pengfei goes through)
David Gilbert 1-4 David Grace
Yan Bingtao 4-1 Peter Lines
Martin O’Donnell 1-4 Lu Ning
Scott Donaldson 4-1 Sean Maddocks
Michael Holt 4-1 Soheil Vahedi
Judd Trump 4-1 Gerard Greene
Alexander Ursenbacher 4-2 Lei Peifan
Chen Zifan 1-4 Xu Si
Mark Williams 4-2 Jamie Jones
Martin Gould 4-0 Jamie Clarke
Kyren Wilson 4-0 David Lilley
Sam Craigie 4-0 Amine Amiri
Anthony McGill vs Riley Parsons w/o (McGill goes through)
Xiao Guodong 4-1 Duane Jones
Luca Brecel 4-0 Kacper Filipiak
Zhou Yuelong 4-0 Jimmy White
Fan Zhengyi 0-4 Robert Milkins
Ken Doherty 4-1 Chris Wakelin
Jack Lisowski 1-4 Ashley Carty
Brandon Sargeant 2-4 Louis Heathcote
Aaron Hill 3-4 Jackson Page
Kurt Maflin 4-1 Fraser Patrick
Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 Jamie O’Neill
Stephen Maguire 4-2 Alex Borg
Shaun Murphy 0-4 Ryan Day
Matthew Selt 4-3 Joe O’Connor
Mark Davis 4-3 Ian Burns