Hot on the heels of Luca Brecel’s maiden ranking title victory just two days ago in Guangzhou, tomorrow sees the circuit move on to Germany with the staging of this year’s Paul Hunter Classic from the Stadthalle.
A year on from winning the event for a record third time, Mark Selby heads a field housing just five of the world’s current top 16, with other players looking to join the likes of Ryan Day and Luca Brecel as first-time ranking event winners so far this season.
As ever, the event has also been popular with the amateur players, a high volume of entries meaning that the tournament had to be extended by a day taking it into Tuesday, but it is Friday that marks the entrance of the professionals and the fight for the title.
As in previous years, the event will follow the once commonly seen European Tour format of being played down to the last 16 over the first two days, before the last 16 play to a finish on Sunday.
Prize money for the event has increased this season, the winner now set to take home £20,000 as opposed to the £18,750 claimed a year ago by Selby, with more also on offer for a number of the earlier rounds
As in 2016 the draw for the event is entirely unseeded, meaning that we have first round ties between the likes of defending champion Selby and Michael Holt, both ranked inside the world’s top 32, while other lower ranked players have drawn amateur opposition.
In terms of the five top 16 players who will be in action, Stuart Bingham and Shaun Murphy are both in the second quarter, Mark Selby and Kyren Wilson in the third, while Luca Brecel can be found in the bottom section of the draw.
With the likes of Mark King, Martin Gould and David Gilbert also in the bottom quarter, there is without doubt an opportunity for somebody to come through the top section, with Dominic Dale and Jamie Jones the highest ranked players present.
The event marks the middle event of three counting towards the next seedings revision of the campaign, which will ultimately be used to determine the positions for the International Championship.
Prize money will also count towards this season’s Masters Race, which has already seen a significant change this week with China Championship winner Luca Brecel gatecrashing the qualifying positions following his maiden ranking success.
Paul Hunter Women’s Classic
As in 2016, there will also be a women’s event staged alongside the main event, with the semi-finals and final to be played at the Stadthalle venue during the course of the weekend.
To learn more about the WLBS Paul Hunter Women’s Classic visit www.wlbsl.com
How to watch
The action from the Paul Hunter Classic this week will be available live on Eurosport Player.
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