We’re off to the Europa Point Sports Complex on Thursday as the stars of the WPBSA gather for the seventh edition of the Gibraltar Open.
Judd Trump has romped to victory on top of the Rock in the last two editions, rubber-stamping his position as one of the world’s best players, but with such a quick-fire format on display (a race to four frames across all the rounds!) can we expect an underdog to spring a surprise at the 2022 tournament?
Only Marco Fu, Ryan Day, Stuart Bingham, Shaun Murphy and Judd Trump have had their hands on the Gibraltar Open crown, and there is a field of 128 looking to add their names to that exclusive club.
So, let us at freebets.com run you through the favourites, underdogs and long-shots for the 2022 Gibraltar Open:
The race for the £150,000 #BVEuroSeries bonus is hotting up with 11 players in the mix going into next week's @BetVictor Gibraltar Open ? Can Judd Trump pocket it for the third consecutive time? ? ?? https://t.co/VkYSpnuNzd pic.twitter.com/ThrjZBk1JH
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) March 17, 2022
When looking at the favourites so this season’s Gibraltar Open, it’s near impossible to look past the two-time winner, Judd Trump.
Trump – the current world number three – has fallen in love with this best-of-seven format over the past two editions and following recent victory at the Turkish Masters is a solid bet at 9/2 to pick up a third title.
Ronnie O’Sullivan sits at the foot of the 128-player draw and at 5/1 will fancy his chances at adding a new trophy to his shiny collection.
Aggressive players like O’Sullivan and Trump should be able to blow opposition away fairly quickly in this short format and are suited to these quick matches.
Neil Robertson, Mark Selby and John Higgins are all in the mix between 13/2 and 11/1 and can never be counted out considering their stellar careers to date.
Third seed Robertson has scooped the Masters, Players Championship and English Open so far this season and is in good nick.
With the World Championship just around the corner, will a favourite prevail or will they be using the Gibraltar Open to tune up for the biggun’?
— Judd Trump (@judd147t) March 13, 2022
We’re not entirely convinced that the Gibraltar Open winner is going to come from the leading pack, which allows us to open up the betting so some of the underdogs.
What about Iranian Hossein Vafaei, who struck gold at this season’s Snooker Shootout and has proved his ability to play aggressively under pressure with positive results.
Vafaei is up to number 19 in the world – his highest ranking to date – and is riding the wave of that Shootout win as well as a semi-final run at the Welsh Open.
66/1 also says that Zhou Yuelong can finally break his duck on the tour and get over the line in a ranking event.
The 24-year-old Chinese player has two ranking runner-up finishes on his CV as well as semi-final runs at the UK Championship and European Masters.
Add to that a quarter-final run at this season’s British Open and Yuelong is well worth a look as an underdog punt.
Asides from Vafaei and Yuelong, Jack Lisowski at 40/1 is hard to ignore.
“Jackpot” has four ranking finals to his name and has run well in this season’s Welsh Open and UK Championships.
— Hossein Vafaei (@hvafaei147) February 20, 2022
How about 200/1 Stuart Carrington to go one better than he managed in 2021 and reach the Gibraltar Open final… and perhaps win it?
World number 54 Carrington fell 4-3 to Jack Lisowski in last year’s semi-final but will be eyeing another last four appearance to add to his collection in Riga and Gibraltar.
Carrington has struggled on tour this season but has been lumped into a favourable section of the draw to get him up and running in the early rounds.
How about Matthew Selt at 80/1 as the Romford potter looks to drag his form from the Turkish Masters to the Rock of Gibraltar.
Selt lost 10-4 in the final of the Turkish Master but applied himself well throughout the week taking the scalps of Ding Junhui, Martin Gould and Zhao Xintong.
If you’re feeling romantic then why not have a stab at the two Gibraltarians in the field? Both Lee Prickman and Francis Becerra are priced at an eye-watering 4000/1 to cause a seismic shock on home turf.