Hylton v Alcinas: Beware the Spanish Inquisition
There is a Mediterranean flavour brought to the opening night of the UK Open by the hugely talented Antonio Alcinas, and Mark Hylton will be hoping that he can tame the Spanish bull at the earliest stage.
The pair are set to meet on the main stage as the second round gets underway and it is fair to say that neither will have been thrilled with the draw they were handed for their first contest.
Mile High Mark Hylton enjoyed a hugely successful year in 2011 and reached the quarter-finals in Bolton as part of it. Without being unfair to him, he was one of the more fortunate players when it came to the draw as, although few games are straightforward, he never faced a really top player en route to the last eight.
Still, a quarter-final of a major is very impressive, and he repeated the feat in the Grand Prix to prove it was no fluke. As a result, there are many who expect his current rank of 33 in the world to be improved upon, but there will be just as many who believe Alcinas is not destined to remain down at 52nd in the world rankings.
The Spaniard was within a whisker of ending Andy Hamilton’s World Championships at the first stage this year and if he can come out of the blocks as he did against the Hammer then he has every chance of victory.
He hasn’t quite kicked on from there, but he has qualified and is raring to go in Bolton and that is what matters. He won one match to get to the second round stage last year before going out to Michael Mansell, coming straight in at this stage shows an improvement, and I think he could go one step further again.
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