The seventh Gibraltar Open has been rocked by a spate of late withdrawals, bad weather and travel chaos before snooker returned to the Rock at the Europa Point Sports Complex on Thursday.
Shoot Out winner Hossein Vafaei and fellow non-British professionals Li Hang, Pang Junxu, Wu Yize, Xu Si and Si Jiahui were all forced out due to visa problems in Spain after bad weather saw flights from the UK diverted from Gibraltar to Malaga.
Former world semi-finalist Andy Hicks, Daniel Womersley, Luke Pinches, Iulian Boiko, Jak Jones and Chris Wakelin were all handed walkovers to the second round of the £251,000 event, held in Milton Keynes last year due to the global pandemic.
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David Gilbert and Anthony Hamilton, suffering from a back problem, were also late withdrawals with Oliver Lines and Jimmy White advancing to the last 64.
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Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams and Stephen Maguire decided not to travel to Gibraltar before the tournament began with a run to the semi-finals worth only £6,000 and a top prize of £50,000 relatively modest by modern standards.
Judd Trump is chasing a third straight Gibraltar Open title and a £150,000 bonus from the European Series with Ronnie O'Sullivan, Neil Robertson and John Higgins also in the frame for the six-figure incentive on Saturday.
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"Unfortunately due to bad weather in Gibraltar, certain flights from the UK have been diverted to Malaga," said World Snooker Tour in a statement.
"Players travelling on non-British passports and without a Schengen Visa do not meet the Spanish visa entry requirements and therefore have had to fly back to the UK and some will not be able to compete in this week’s BetVictor Gibraltar Open.
"This affects a relatively small number of players. Their opponents at the tournament will receive a walkover into the second round and these will be confirmed as and when we know that the player is unable to make their match.
"WPBSA Players representatives are contacting affected players and assisting with alternative plans where possible."
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Stream the Gibraltar Open and other top snooker live and on-demand on discovery+. You can also watch all the action live on eurosport.co.uk.
Gibraltar Open LIVE - Trump in action, Bingham through
Gibraltar Open LIVE - Robertson, Ding and Wilson in action
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