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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Jamie Jones can get the season off to a flying start

Jack Lisowski another one to watch in Riga

Mark Williams on his way to victory in Sheffield
1 of 1

Day One
Eurosport 2, 2.30pm Friday

The Latvian capital of Riga hosts the snooker season curtain-raiser after a 12-week break since Mark Williams lifted his third Crucible crown.

Williams surprisingly heads the betting, although his social media suggests there has been more celebrating than practising since his Sheffield triumph and he, along with a number of other top pros, may prove vulnerable in the first event.

The short best-of-seven-frames matches up to and including the semi-finals has produced a number of shock results in recent years, none more so than in this event 12 months ago when Ryan Day won his first ranking title after 15 years as a professional.

The defending champion lines up in a red-hot top half of the draw, and the second quarter houses three of the first five players in the betting.

Shaun Murphy, the 2005 world champion, has a great draw as the only player ranked in the top 16 in the first quarter, but as well as lacking match sharpness he also recently moved house and may get caught cold early on.

Murphy's Crucible conqueror Jamie Jones could belie lofty odds and may well be the man to emerge from that section.

Having breezed through qualification without dropping a frame, 30-year-old Jones can see off veteran Rod Lawler in his opener before lining up against a number of less experienced opponents.

He has proved he has the game to compete with the sport's elite and has claimed some noteworthy scalps.

Having finished last season strongly, the Welshman can bring some renewed confidence into this new term and is a player to keep an eye on in the coming weeks.

Another player chasing his maiden title is fluent potter Jack Lisowski, who has a great draw in a weak fourth quarter.

One of the most naturally talented players on the Tour, left-handed Lisowski zoomed up the world rankings last year, climbing 28 places to number 26.

An aggressive and attacking player, Lisowski landed more than £150,000 in prize money last season, compared to the meagre £27,771 he won two years ago, highlighting the improvement in his game and he is expected to march further up the rankings.

Jamie Jones
1pt each-way 70-1 Betfair, Paddy Power
J Lisowski
1pt each-way 28-1 Betfred

Tournament lowdown

Venue Arena Riga, Latvia
Prize money £50,000 to the winner
Tournament category Ranking
When to bet Main-draw action starts 9am Friday
Where to watch Daily live coverage on Eurosport

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Jones has proved he has the game to compete with the sport's elite and has claimed some noteworthy scalps
E.W. Terms
Sky bet