The Australian Women’s Snooker Open gets underway this Saturday (7 October) at the stunning Mounties venue in Sydney, Australia.
The third world ranking event of the 2023/24 season sees the WWS Tour return to Australia for the fifth time, following victories for Ng On Yee (2018), Mink Nutcharut (2019), Jamie Hunter (2022) and earlier this year Ploychompoo Laokiatphong in the first staging of the Asia-Pacific Women’s Snooker Championship.
Organised by the Australian Billiards and Snooker Council, the tournament is once again set to welcome back current world number one Nutcharut and three-time world champion Ng, as well as leading home players Lilly Meldrum and Jessica Woods, the latter having narrowly missed out on claiming her first ranking title a year ago.
India’s Amee Kamani – World Cup winner earlier this year – is another notable overseas entry, while there will be no fewer than seven players making their maiden appearances on the circuit.
The tournament will begin with a round robin group stage, with the top two players from each group set to progress to the quarter-finals.
To the draw…
Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee was the inaugural winner of the Australian Women’s Open in 2018 and returns to Sydney looking to capture her first Tour title of the calendar year.
The world number three has made a strong start to the campaign with final and semi-final runs in the US Open and UK Championship events respectively, and will be hoping to bank crucial ranking points as she looks to regain her place on the professional tour by next spring.
She will begin her campaign in a group that features Australia’s Carlie Tait, who maintains her streak of having appeared at every staging of the tournament since it became a world ranking event five years ago, with a quarter-final appearance in 2019 representing her strongest performance.
Also present will be Agnes Kimura of New Zealand, who reached the last 16 at the Asia-Pacific Women’s Championship earlier this year, as well as Tour debutant Kathy Blunden.
World number one Mink Nutcharut returns to the scene of her first ever ranking event success, four years on from her landmark victory at the 2019 edition of the Australian Open.
It is a venue that holds a number of special memories for the Thai star, who also became world number one for the first time in Sydney following her run to the quarter-finals of the Asia-Pacific Championship earlier this year.
Awaiting her will be a group that includes up to three Tour debutants, with Hong Kong’s Yuk Fan Lau, Australia’s Krystal Aw and Suzanne Hart of Australia all set to compete in the event for the first time.
The group is completed by Australia’s Linda Larrea, who like Carlie Tait, has appeared in every staging of the event to date.
Lilly Meldrum heads to Sydney as the top ranked Australian player on Tour for the first time and will be looking to build upon her runs to the semi-finals of both the Australian Open and Asia-Pacific Championship events in Sydney last year.
The 15-year-old will begin in a fascinating four player group that also includes Amee Kamani of India, who was part of the World Cup winning team in Thailand earlier this year and also reached the quarter-finals of the recent UK Championship in England.
New Zealander Maria ‘Sweethart’ Paul-Bennett will also make her second Tour appearance of the year after the Kiwi reached the last 16 at the Asia-Pacific Championship in February, with Australia’s Belinda Dinga also set to make her first appearance in the group.
The final group will be led by home favourite Jessica Woods, who will be looking to go one better following her sensational run to the title match in 2022.
Despite her deciding-frame defeat to England’s Jamie Hunter, it was a memorable event for the Australian star who also became only the 15th individual player to compile a century break on the WWS Tour following her run of 120 during the group stages in Sydney.
She is set to headline an international group that will also feature Scotland’s Louise Foster, who makes the return trip from the UK having also competed at this season’s Asia-Pacific Championship, as well as Aanya Patel of India and China’s Shuangyu Jia.
Home player Christine Firth will make her fourth Tour appearance at Mounties and will be looking to qualify for the knockout rounds for the first time.
All the action gets underway on Friday from 10:00am AEDT, with the latest match results and standings available via WPBSA SnookerScores.