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Venue confirmed for next year's Northern Ireland Open snooker tournament

This year's Northern Ireland Open is reaching its final stages and already the venue has been confirmed for the 2018 edition.

The Waterfront Hall will again play host to the competition, despite recent comments by Ronnie O'Sullivan favouring the 2016 venue of the Titanic Exhibition Centre.

The last two editions of the NI Open have been included as part of the World Snooker Tour and the new Home Nations Series. World Snooker have confirmed that it will return to the Waterfront in 2018.

“We have been delighted with the venue this week, crowds have been good, it’s a superb facility and the people at the Waterfront have been a pleasure to work with," said a spokesman. "We have already agreed the dates to return next year and we look forward to coming back.”

O'Sullivan crashed out of this year's tournament in round three, losing 4-1 to world number 82 Elliot Slessor. But after his second round victory over Duane Jones, O'Sullivan had said that he preferred the Titanic Exhibition Centre, claiming that this year's crowd was 'flat'.

"There's a decent crowd out here. The atmosphere's not brilliant, I must admit last year's venue had a much better atmosphere, I preferred that venue," he said.

"Obviously, this is a bit more plush but as snooker players sometimes you enjoy that gritty type venue that creates a better atmosphere. I'd rather have a better atmosphere but the venue's falling apart. It's very flat out there today so it's difficult to get going."

Antrim man Mark Allen fell to a 4-3 defeat to China's Tian Penfei in the second round while defending champion Mark King is also out, losing 4-1 to Yan Bingtao.

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