Ronnie O'Sullivan begins defence of title as English Open heads to Crawley

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Could a robot take on Ronnie O’Sullivan? Photograph: Imaginechina/Rex/Shutterstock
Could a robot take on Ronnie O’Sullivan? Photograph: Imaginechina/Rex/Shutterstock

Ronnie O’Sullivan will begin the defence of his English Open title on Monday, as the tournament moves to a new venue.

The first of this season’s Home Nations events is taking place at K2 Crawley, with the prolific O’Sullivan aiming to add to his 33 ranking titles.

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O’Sullivan, who won the Shanghai Masters last month, will take on Norway’s Kurt Maflin on the opening day of the tournament.

World champion Mark Williams will play fellow Welshman Dominic Dale in the first round on Monday, while world No.1 Mark Selby faces England’s Sanderson Lam.

The star names making their bow on Tuesday include John Higgins, who will take on Li Yuan, and Judd Trump, who will meet Robin Hull.

The Northern Ireland, Scottish and Welsh Open tournaments are still to come in the Home Nations series.

The English event has had a nomadic existence so far, being staged in Manchester in 2016 and Barnsley last year. Now it has a new home in Crawley, becoming the only major snooker event to be held in the south-east of England outside of the Masters.

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