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Snooker: Australian Open


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A new ranking event added to the calendar starts early Monday morning. Unsurpisingly, Ronnie has pulled out whilst Graeme Dott has also had to withdraw. Up to the semis, it's a best of 9 format changing to best of 11 for the semis and best of 17 in the final:ok

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Re: Snooker: Australian Open 1 Pt Williams to win Austrailian Open 6/1 William Hill I'm having a go at the World number one here. He's been in fine form this year winning the German Masters and reaching the Semi finals of the World Championships narrowly losing out to Higgins in the semi-finals. Wales reached the semi-finals of the World cup this week and eventhough Williams did lose his frames against china this is not just a one frame game so the better players will show through this week. His side of the draw is brilliant which draws me to the bet. Barry Pinches is his 1st opponent followed by Gilbert/Misfud then potientally Robertson at worst in the quarters. He should be hot favourite in all these matches so at 6/1 i'll back him on this one.

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Re: Snooker: Australian Open Good luck Wanderer:ok I'm going with 4 outright bets on 2 players and, strangely, I'm sticking to the same half of the draw. I know that's not normal strategy but I really cannot fathom the bottom half as Selby & Williams look solid but the flies in the ointment are Trump & Robertson. Judd is here on the back of a brilliant finish to last season whilst Robbo will surely be fired up for the first ranking event on home soil. My 8pts will be staked as follows: S.Murphy to win Australian Open, 0.5pts EW @ 14/1 Coral (1/2 odds 1-2) S.Murphy to win 1st quarter, 2pts @ 11/4 Bet365 Smurf is my pick from the 1st quarter as I think there's a lack of real quality in this section, apart from the obvious exception of World Champion John Higgins. His draw looks ok, starting off with Higginson, a player he has a 2-0 H2H record over, before playing the winner of the bore fest Ebdon/McLeod. I'd be disappointed if Smurf fails in either of those games, then it is most likely to be Higgins who puts up the quarter final test. The Scot will really need to turn up the heat from the World Cup where, quite frankly, he was terrible. I'm not sure whether the team format didn't suit, whether he was a little rusty or just whether his game ain't quite there at present. No matter what it is, I fancy Smurf to give him a real tough game. Murphy started slowly this season, losing early doors in the 1st PTC event but then beat Ebdon 5-1 at the Wuxi before losing out to Carter 6-3. Since his exertions there, he flew straight on to Australia and has been out there relaxing & acclimatising for over a week. I can't take the quarter bet without getting involved on the outright too, so it's a case of 3pts staked on the Englishma to get us off to a flying start. D.Junhui to win Australian Open, 1pt EW @ 8/1 Skybet (1/2 odds 1-2) D.Junhui to win 2nd quarter, 3pts @ 2/1 Bet365 Ding is the 2nd interest from the top half of the draw. He's played some really great stuff this week in Thailand and led the Chinese to the World Cup so will travel full of confidence. Took a while to get going winning just 4 of his 8 singles in the group stages but then he really upped his game, winning 5 out of his 6 in the knockout phases including victories over Williams & Allen. In fact, his only loss was to Gerard Greene who knocked in a magnificent break of 109. From a draw perspective, he starts with Bingham who he beat 13-12 at the World's but I expect him to confirm his superiority a little easier here before taking on the winner of under achiever Jamie Cope & Tom Ford, another match he should take. His quarter final match up would most likely see him play either Mark Allen or Ali Carter but I'm prepared to ignore the chances of both, as Allen has a tough opener against Ryan Day and has to overcome a 4-3 H2H deficit whilst Carter comes here suffering from illness. Again, I'm covering the outright and strongly feel that Ding will go well this week.

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Re: Snooker: Australian Open You read my mind mate ;). 1pt ew S.Murphy to win Australian Open 14/1 Skybet (1/2 1-2) Like Russ I like Murphy this week. This week I think we have to decide whether last week's World Cup participants will be benefitted by the match practice or frustrated by the length and pin sticking monotony of the format. I think it's the latter. I think the late arrival into Australia from Thailand and the huge change up in format will catch a few players out. So that's half the field sorted out and leaves me liking Shaun Murphy. He sees himself as a bit of an ambassador for the game and he'll want to do well in this tournament which is the first in Australia for a good while. As Russ pointed out he went straight to Australia from the Wuxi Classic where he probably got more match practice from two matches than someone like Mark Allen got last week playing the World Cup to the full. Murphy when on form is still a tough cookie to crack. He's got a nice draw even with Higgins a quarter final opponent. Higgins admitted he was poor last week at the World Cup so at 14/1 with the inevitable Ronnie pullout I think Murphy is a decent price to go well in this event.

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Re: Snooker: Australian Open I'm taking 2 bets on the opening day. M.Gould to beat S.Hendry, 4pts @ 5/6 Victor Chandler As much as it's difficult to comprehend having witnessed how long he dominated the game for, I'm afraid to say that Stephen Hendry is on a steep downward spiral and it won't be long before he hangs up his cue to focus more time on the TV career. Rankings suggest this will be close but their careers are now going in the opposite direction. Most bookies have this price up right at 8/13 or 4/7 but the 5/6 availabe here smacks of value. Gould has won their last 2 encounters, both best of 9 matches, 1 in each of the last couple of seasons. The wins for Gould were relatively comfortable too, 5-3 at the Welsh in 2009 and 5-2 at the Shanghai last year and I see no reason why he won't build on that. Hendry was 50/50 whether or not to continue this season, only the fact he remained in the top 16 deciding his future. That's not the sign of a man I want to be backing so I'll take the bespectacled one to get us off to a flyer. T.Ford (+1.5 frames) to beat J.Cope, 3pts @ 11/10 Coral I'm not sure whether it's a case of heart ruling the head here but I'm a massive Tom Ford fan and think he'll be a future star of this game. Cope meanwhile is a bit of a choker, loads of talent but is so frustrating. Again, Cope's another on the verge of dropping out of the top 16 so pressure will be on him to get results and his ranking event form, aside from the Shanghai where he reached the semis, was poor, including 3 first round exits. Ford warmed up in the qualifiers with 2 good wins, taking out the impressive Jack Lisowski 5-3 and he of World Cup finalist, Gerard Greene, 5-2. In those 2 matches, he scored very well indeed with 8 50+ breaks. That strongly suggests to me that his cueing arm is up & running and he'll be a big danger to Jamie Cope. I feel he can win this but will play a bit safer with handicap of 1.5 frames on our side.

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Re: Snooker: Australian Open 3 for me in this opening day. Me and Russ are on the same wavelength in this tournament I think. 4pts M.Gould to beat S.Hendry 5/6 VC Like Russ, I think Gould is a superb price here. Just a look at the one year rankings shows which way the careers of these two are going. Martin Gould sits 9th while Stephen Hendry is way down in 25th. That's a massive difference so the bookies who have Gould a lot shorter than this are spot on. Martin Gould has shown us that he's no respector of reputations on the big stage and I see no reason why Hendry will frighten him. This will be Hendry's first match of the season after he missed the PTC event whereas Gould has had the PTC where he made the last 16 and the qualifying for this. Match practice is massive these days as we saw with the likes of Hendry and O'Sullivan last season. Those PTC's are valuable and I'd rather take Gould who has the benefit of them under his belt over Hendry who hasn't here. 3pts T.Ford to beat J.Cope 2/1 Coral Tom Ford has been in pretty good form this season and his two qualifying wins were quite eye catching especially in the light of Gerard Greene's performance in the World Cup last week. Jamie Cope is never someone I'm rushing to back because while his safety game is getting better he's lost accuracy on his long pots. Ford has scored heavily in the two matches he played qualifying for this tournament and that's no surprise as he's a very heavy scorer when he gets going. Like with Gould above, the qualifying and PTC events should have Ford in good nick here above a Cope who will be quite rusty with this being his only his second set of matches this season. Ford looks in good nick and he's worth a bet at 2/1. 4pts P.Ebdon to beat R.McLeod 8/11 William Hill God knows when I'll get my cash if this wins as this could last days rather than weeks :lol. I don't see how Rory wins this though. His slow play tactics won't work against the slow play master and we're at the stage of the event where Rory usually turns to jelly and doesn't perform. Ebdon had some good match practice at the Wuxi Classic a couple of weeks ago which should have tuned him up nicely for this week. Ebdon needs a good start to the season if he's to qualify for the Masters as he's 14th on the one year rankings and slipping out of the top 16 the way he's going. Rory doesn't offer too much and if Ebdon's on form he should win this.

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Re: Snooker: Australian Open 5 PTS Day to beat Allen 13/8 StanJames Every time we say it, Day is capable of winning one of these rankings events but it just hasn't quite happened for him. He had a poor season but he's a decent player though and if on his game tommorow he is well capable of winning. The odds are abit on the high side here so i'm expecting these to drop. Allen is another top upcoming player who has had a very good season but i rekon he won't be best pleased about this draw. 1st to 5 frames so a good start and he will have a good chance to progress. So i'm going to stick with him at this price.

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Re: Snooker: Australian Open Tom Ford came through his match well beating Cope 5-3 but Gould really let us down by failing to see off Stephen Hendry, a 0.7pt loss on day 1. I'm taking 3 bets on day 2. M.Campbell (+1.5 frames) to beat A.Carter, 4pts @ 6/5 Bet365 Marcus Campbell is, in my opinion, a player on the up and is generally more reliable than he used to be. He's now a solid player and, other than his World Championship hammering, is not easy to turn over. Played the Captain in the last 16 of the China Open and was defeated narrowly, 5-3. I think tomorrow he can go even closer against an Ali Carter who looked distinctly out of touch in the recent World Cup and, more importantly, was rumoured to be feeling ill. The amount of travel involved for Carter ain't going to help his health and this could be one of those matches where a win for the underdog wouldn't quite be the shock many believe. As I did with Ford (and it proved costly), I'll play safe and have the 5-4 Carter win on our side but, even with that, I feel that 6/5 is a tasty price for a player to beat anyone feeling a little off colour. M.Allen v R.Day, over 7.5 frames, 4pts @ 5/6 Paddy Power This one should be a cracker. 18 months ago, Ryan Day would have been favourite having been established inside the World's top 10 but has had a torrid time. However, I've seen enough recently to suggest he's on his way back, including a pair of victories over Ronnie O'Sullivan at the tail end of last season. Mark Allen, having suffered from personal problems, looked like he was at ease with his game at last week's World Cup, guiding Northern Ireland to the final. However, a best of 9 is a different challenge and he's facing potentially the toughest of the qualifiers. Plenty of travel too won't help and I wouldn't be surprised to see him get off to a sluggish start. I strongly think this will go the distance and feel that a 5-3 score either way is more than likely. D.Dale v S.Mifsud, over 7.5 frames, 3pts @ Evs Paddy Power Potentially, a bit of a risky bet but I saw enough in the opening day of games to suggest that a 5-3 or 5-4 scoreline either way is the bet to follow. All but one of the matches on day one went to at least 8 frames so Evs on it to happen here is big. I admit that Steve Mifsud isn't a household name but he showed more than enough in the 1 frame World Cup format last week, when partnering Neil Robertson. There, he beat 2 decent players in Wattana and Drago, players that are no better than an average Dominic Dale. The Spaceman is such an unpredicatable character and, although I expect him to win, he doesn't like to do things easily. The best of the Mifsud's will be eager to do himself justice on home turf so I'll take him to find at least 3 frames in an event where everyone will probably need some time to hit top form.

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Re: Snooker: Australian Open Cheers guys:ok As Kev says, one frame away from a full house but the 2 winners take me to +4.43pts. An additional plus were the losses of both Carter and Higgins, which makes the bets on Murphy & Ding looks even more attractive. I'm taking 2 tomorrow. M.Stevens (-1.5 frames) to beat L.Wenbo, 4pts @ 23/20 Boylesports 2 players who have travelled here from the recent World Cup in Thailand, both making the final day of competition, so I'm not sure the travel will have that much bearing on the result. The only potential edge is that, in their direct encounter, the Welshman did manage to beat Wenbo in their singles. Having been out of the top 16 for a while, Matthew Stevens has forced his way back in playing some good snooker last season, managing to qualify for every single venue with the players to beat him in ranking events being Carter, Ding (twice), Higgins, Hendry & Allen. That's not bad going and strongly suggests that he's a pretty ruthless player when up against those not as good as him. His 2-0 H2H record against Liang backs that up. The other factor here is the terrible form of the Chinese player over the last 12 months. He was being touted once over as the next Ding but has really struggled with that pressure. Got to the last 32 of just 1 event, and that was the one he got into automatically (the Shanghai) as he was the 2009 losing finalist. Incidentally, Matt Stevens was the player to beat him there, 5-3. Ignoring Thailand and looking back over a longer period, the form of these 2 are poles apart and I'll take Stevens to cement his place back in the top 16 and win this 5-3 or better. S.Hendry (-1.5 frames) to beat M.Selt, 4pts @ 5/6 Paddy Power Both of these players were underdogs in their first round matches but managed to come through their respective tests. Selt was, on paper, the most impressive coming from 4-1 down to beat World Champion John Higgins. Whilst that was a fantastic result and the best of his career, he was facing an out of form Higgins who had struggled all week at the World Cup. Hendry, meanwhile, had a tough challenge in the ever improving Martin Gould but, by all accounts, played some vintage Hendry stuff to win 5-3, hitting a ton along the way. Rumour is he had a new cue too, which either makes his win even better or suggests that a change is as good as a rest. What turns me on to this bet is, again, the respective form of the 2. In the last 2 years, Hendry has only been beaten by a qualifier twice in ranking events, both times in the Shanghai and each time to a player much better than Selt, namely Gould & Walden. Selt, on the other hand, has reached his first venue here and lost his only previous encounter with Hendry. I'm certainly not getting carried away by Selt's win today over Higgins and will take the Scots to get their revenge here and win quite comfortably, 5-3 or better.

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Re: Snooker: Australian Open 4 for me on Wednesday. -2 coming in after Ebdon frustrating lost from 3-0 up on the opening day :(. 4pts J.Perry (+2.5 frames) to beat M.Selby 10/11 Coral 2pts J.Perry to beat M.Selby 3/1 Coral I'm a big Mark Selby fan and I'm certain he'll win a lot of tournaments this season but a hectic schedule might just catch up with him here. He won the Wuxi Classic 2 weeks ago and went straight to the World Cup where he played until the final weekend and then he came straight to Australia for this tournament. I believe he got married in the summer as well so it's been a pretty hectic time for the Jester. Joe Perry has had no such issues. He comes here in decent form having made the final of the opening PTC event of the season while a 5-2 win over Fergal O'Brien in the qualifiers for this is no mean achievement either. If Selby is feeling a bit jaded in this one then he's picked the wrong opponent this week. Perry is playing good snooker and we know from his days in the top 16 that he's capable of beating anyone so with that in mind I'll take Perry to win at least 3 frames in this match and also have a smaller bet on him to then move on to get the job done in full. 3pts L.Wenbo to beat M.Stevens 6/4 Stan James Liang Wenbo is a bit of an enigma but there's just enough value in him this week. As Russ says both men played in the World Cup so there may not be any fatigue issues or advantages either way but Matthew Stevens played in the Wuxi Classic where he lost 5-4 to Yu Delu, a result which will give Liang some hope coming into this event. Liang will be more used to jetsetting around to play snooker than Stevens will and maybe that will give him an advantage. He tends to win matches well or lose them well but he's had match practice coming into this week that if he plays well the cue should flow and we can see the best of the man from China. Stevens has played excellent snooker in the last 12 months to reclaim his top 16 place but we've seen him lose his way when he's hit the elite level in the past and with Liang being a dangerous opponent I think there's enough value on the youngster producing an upset here. 4pts S.Hendry (-1.5 frames) to beat M.Selt 5/6 Blue Square Stephen Hendry had an excellent win over Martin Gould in the opening round and he faces a weaker opponent in this second round match. Matthew Selt had an excellent win over John Higgins in the first round but I expect a bit of a comedown from that win here. In many ways he was lucky to beat Higgins who doesn't lose too many from 4-1 up in a best of 9 but credit to Selt for fighting and getting the job done. That win though opens things up a bit for Hendry who has a golden chance to give his ranking the shot in the arm it needs this week. Hendry didn't just beat Gould in the opening round but he played well to do it and if he repeats that performance then I think he'll beat Selt, who is in unchartered territory now, no worse than 5-3.

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Re: Snooker: Australian Open +2.14 on Wednesday. +0.14 overall. 2 for Thursday. 3pts M.Davis (+2.5 frames) to beat M.Selby 5/6 Betfred Mark Davis scored very heavily in beating Judd Trump on the opening day of the competition and he should be very confident coming into this match against Mark Selby. Selby found himself 3-0 down to Joe Perry in no time on Wednesday but recovered to win 5-3. He never did a lot wrong his way to that deficit, Perry played excellent snooker to go 3-0 up but all the time Selby is having to use up his reserves the quicker his recent exploits will catch up with him. Davis doesn't have those issues. He's as fresh as a daisy. I'm certain Selby's efforts of the last few weeks will catch up with him at some point and with Davis already showing this week that he's playing well he looks well worth a bet with the 2.5 frame head start. Even if Selby wins matches this week I'm not sure he's going to win any of them easily so I'll take the 6 red world champion to take 3 frames here. 4pts L.Wenbo to beat K.Doherty 8/11 Skybet There might not be any love lost between these two as Ken Doherty wasn't impressed that Liang showed up without a bow tie when these two met at the World Cup last week. That I'm sure was all a load of rubbish to take the attention away from a poor Irish performance that day but it might have irked Liang anyway. He shouldn't need much irking though because he played some lovely snooker in getting rid of Matthew Stevens on Wednesday. He knocked in two centuries and a couple of half centuries in a high scoring performance. Doherty had an excellent win over Stephen Maguire on Wednesday but consistency isn't Ken's strong point now and scoring isn't really his game these days either. He needs a couple of chances to win frames and the way Liang is scoring he may not get them. Liang's consistency isn't his strength but he's started the season well and being crowned World Cup winner along with his friend Ding last week looks to have given him a real boost for the season. I expect him to see off Crafty Ken in this one with or without a bow tie.

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Re: Snooker: Australian Open Bloody unlucky today, Kev. Terrible day for me yesterday with both losing and Ding crashing out, taking me back to an awful -8.57pts. I do still have a quarter bet at 11/4 and an outright at 14's on Murphy so hoping he disposes of Selt tomorrow. I'm taking 1 other bet. S.Bingham to beat M.Allen, 4pts @ 11/8 Bet365 This is a proper grudge match and both have come out in the press expressing their dislike of each other. I feel Mark Allen has been a little too vocal though and it may just backfire. Allen, as has been proven in so many matches this week, may feel the effects of his World Cup exertions and the other concern is that he seems to struggle at the business end, especially when he's strongly fancied to go all the way. He didn't actually play too well either today, despite the convincing 5-1 scoreline where he had the run of the ball. Bingham, without doubt, has something to prove after Allen's comments over the Englishman's lack of bottle. 2 very impressive wins for Bingham, 5-2 over my pre tournament bet Ding and 5-0 over Tom Ford will give him huge confidence and he'll be 100% ready for this challenge. A much improved player, I think the odds against is too big and I take Bing to prevail here.

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Re: Snooker: Australian Open Ta mate. That was annoying. Liang was 4-1 up and 40pts up in one frame and lost :wall. -1.36 overall now. Going with 3 in the QF's. 4pts S.Bingham to beat M.Allen 11/8 Bet365 I'm with Russ here really. I saw Bingham's match against Ding Junhui where he hit a ton and finished the match off with a composed 86 break and he looked very good both in the balls and at long range. With a 5-0 win over Tom Ford under his belt too we know Bingham's playing well because you don't beat Ford 5-0 if you're not. Mark Allen came past Marcus Campbell in the second round but he admitted he had a lot of luck in that match and also said he still feels rusty having not done any practicing in the off season. It's clear to see Bingham has. He's desperate for this top 16 place and he'll go a long way towards getting it with a win here. That's the on table stuff covered but it's fair to say these two aren't too friendly off of it. Bingham took offence at a comment Mark Allen made about a lack of bottle Bingham has and it's escalated from there. Both men pointed it out in the lead up to this match so it will be motivation for both and a decent watch, if it were on TV. I just think Bingham is looking the better of the two and I'll take him to finally reach a ranking event semi final at the 14th time of asking :eek. 4pts M.Williams (-1.5 frames) to beat D.Dale 8/11 Blue Square Mark Williams was ashamed of his first round performance but he performed much better in seeing off the in form and dangerous Dave Gilbert in the last round and I expect him to continue to improve here against a Dominic Dale who is somehow still here. He needed a snooker in the decider against Robertson in the last round with pink and black remaining but to his credit he got it and went on to win. However his record against Williams isn't the best and we've seen in the past that Williams can up it a few gears in the latter stages of these events. Williams leads Dale 8-3 on the head to heads and although Dominic isn't playing too badly Robertson should've beaten him. I don't think Williams will be as friendly and I'll take the world number one to beat Dale 5-3 or easier. 4pts K.Doherty (+2.5 frames) to beat M.Selby 5/6 Betfred I quite like the idea of Doherty getting 3 frames here. Selby has admitted to having concentration issues and giving opponents too many chances in this event so far and with fatigue setting in that's only likely to continue. Ken Doherty isn't the player he once was but he's still capable of putting chances away and limiting his opponent's chances. He came from 4-1 down to Liang Wenbo in the last round which was an excellent effort and one which will have given him plenty of confidence to take into this match. Doherty's quarter final appearances are few and far between these days so he'll be giving this one his absolute all and against a jaded opponent I think he can win at least 3 frames in this match.

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Re: Snooker: Australian Open Another complete turnaround today with both my bets winning, bringing in 11pt profit on the day. I'm now back in profit at +2.43pts, with a 14/1 outright on Murphy still running. Kev, good day for you too mate but, again, 1 bloody frame away from a full house:wall. Great profit though. As I'm effectively on Murphy at 7/1 to beat Bingham, I'll leave that match and take one in the other semi. M.Williams v K.Doherty, under 0.5 centuries, 3pts @ 5/4 Paddy Power Before you think I've missed a trick here, yes I do know that MJW hit 3 tons today in his 5-4 win over Dominic Dale. However, they are the only 3 tons this pair have hit in the 30 frames they've won to reach this stage so I don't see how the price is 4/7 to have 1 or more centuries. I'd also add that MJW has long been recognised as a player who goes out to win the frame, rather than make a big break whilst Ken is a real grinder, especially nowadays. He'll have to keep things pretty tight if he's to beat the new World No 1 so big breaks may be hard to come by. There's also the added pressure of this being a ranking event semi final so I suspect this match will be a tad scrappy. I can't be over confident as the Welshman was mightily impressive today but I think 5/4 on no tons is a little too big to ignore.

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Re: Snooker: Australian Open A really tough tournament with shocks aplenty & eventual winner (with no bottle), Stuart Bingham knocking out both of my outrights. Finished -1.57pts which, in such an unpredicatable event, ain't that bad.

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Re: Snooker: Australian Open Decent tourney for snooker that one. Certainly enjoyed watching it more than the World Cup which was a bit painstaking at times. Delighted for Bingham too. Was in danger of wasting a career had he not won a ranking event but I think that could be the first of a few now. Couldn't really get a feel for the semis and final so I finished the tournament +1.47pts which is a kind of apt number for a snooker tournament :loon.

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