Ronnie Well Placed for Grand Prix Charge

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The World Grand Prix gets underway in Coventry on Monday and with the tournament determined by a one-year ranking list, there is a lopsided look to the draw.

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Judd Trump beat his good pal Jack Lisowski to win last year’s World Grand Prix, which was then staged in Milton Keynes, but the draw hasn’t been kind to him in his title defence.

17/5 tournament favourite Trump gets his campaign underway against Ben Woollaston, yet Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen, Kyren Wilson, John Higgins and Yan Bingtao are also housed in his half of the draw.

The Rocket looks set for lift off

Therefore, that may leave the door open for Ronnie O’Sullivan, who is on the opposite half of the draw and appears to be holding his form well.

This illustrious prize tends to go to one of snooker’s top dogs and things should be no different in Coventry, with this being the first of three events to make up this season’s Cazoo Cup.

Ronnie landed this prize in 2018 and a semi-final run at the last week’s Scottish Open, which followed his quarter-final berth at the UK Championship, suggests his game is in decent nick.

The Rocket opens up against amatuer Andy Hicks before a potential second-round duel with Gary Wilson or Hossein Vafei.

A quarter-final clash with recent Scottish Open hero Luca Brecel is also on the cards but O’Sullivan would be a firm favourite for that best-of-nine contest.

At 9/2, O’Sullivan rates serios value, especially when the other standout names in his half of the draw are Mark Williams, Lisowski, Dave Gilbert and Stuart Bingham.

If in the mood to deliver, which recent results imply he is, Ronnie should be able to outclass those in his section despite the short early format not necessarily playing to his strengths.

Gilbert going for gold

If O’Sullivan fails to fire in Coventry, then Gilbert looks ready to capitalise and could represent each-way value at 16/1.

An opener against Ali Carter is by no means easy but Gilbert is rightly favourite to oblige and he then faces Williams or Lisowski in the last 16.

But Gilbert, who claimed his first ranking title at the Championship League earlier this year, is a classy customer that appears to be operating close to the top of his game.

The Angry Farmer has reached the quarter-finals at both the Northern Ireland Open and English Open and, in what looks a decent draw, he could outrun his odds.

Selt a standout first-round selection

Matthew Selt sprung a major surprise when beating Trump 6-3 at the UK Championship earlier this month and at 21/20 he makes plenty of appeal to win his World Grand Prix opener against Jimmy Robertson.

Selt also made the quarter-finals of the Scottish Open, where he was beaten in a final-frame decider by eventual champion Brecel, and is playing with plenty of confidence.

In fact, the 36-year-old, who is ranked 22 places above Robertson in the world rankings, should be favourite for this clash.

Selt was a convincing 4-2 winner when these two last clashed in the Riga Masters two years ago and Robertson has lost four of his last six starts, so looks vulnerable here against an in-form opponent.

*Odds correct at time of writing

Aaron is Mr Versatile – he covers all sports but with a particular passion for football, tennis and snooker.
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