Closing in on the Cut: October 2016

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Following back to back events in Romania and England, there is now just one tournament to be played before the main seeding list for World Snooker events will be revised for the fourth time this season.

The updated list will be used to determine the seedings for the Northern Ireland Open, at which the top 16 players will be seeded in the draw, with the remaining 112 to be drawn at random, as well as the Betway UK Championship, at which all 128 seeds will be placed in the draw (1 v 128, 2 v 127 in the first round and so on).

  • Click here to view the draw for the International Championship
  • Click here to view the latest provisional seedings
  • Click here to view the prize money schedule for events this season

On the 31st October 2016 following the International Championship, the current seedings list will be updated for the fourth time this season and will be used to determine the seedings for the 2016 Northern Ireland Open and Betway UK Championship.

By the time of the revision, prize money earned from the 2014 AT1, ET1, Wuxi Classic, Australian Goldfields Open, ET2, Shanghai Masters, ET3, AT2 and International Championship tournaments will have been deducted and replaced by that from this season’s events up to that date. This prize money has therefore already been removed from the latest provisional seedings list, to show the situation as up to date as possible.

Please note that all seeding permutations below are on the basis that all eligible players enter the relevant events.


Battle for Number 1

Despite making an early exit against Liam Highfield last week in Manchester, Mark Selby is guaranteed to extend his 18 month spell as world number one beyond the International Championship in Daqing, regardless of the outcome.

His closest challenger Stuart Bingham has enjoyed improved results of late, but nevertheless heads to Daqing over £180,000 behind Selby on the latest provisional seeding list, with only a further £121,000 (his guaranteed £4,000 for qualifying already added to his total), available for him next week.

Behind him, Judd Trump has moved ahead of Shaun Murphy and into third position, having earned £86,250 from the last two counting tournaments. Now just £29,349 behind Bingham, a run to the semi-finals could be enough to see him climb up to second place, should Bingham lose early at the venue.

The Top Eight

With the top seven assured of remaining inside the top eight, the only player who could yet be leapfrogged in Daqing is Ronnie O’Sullivan, who currently occupies the final spot on the provisional list.

Closest to him is Joe Perry, who would need to reach at least the final to be in with a chance of passing the five-time world champion, while Liang Wenbo, Ali Carter, Marco Fu, Mark Williams, Anthony McGill and Ricky Walden would all need to win the title if they are to stand a chance of breaking into the top eight.


The Top 16

As with the recent English Open, at the Northern Ireland Open the top 16 will be seeded and therefore assured of avoiding each other in the early rounds, but the remaining players will be drawn at random. This means that whoever finishes ranked 17th could draw anybody from world number one Mark Selby, to an amateur player in the opening round.

A look at the provisional seedings list tells us that the top 11 are already guaranteed to remain inside the top 16 following the conclusion of the International Championship. First up for consideration then is Barry Hawkins, who is already out of the tournament and so vulnerable if five of the following outcomes were to happen:

  • Ali Carter reaches the last 32
  • Marco Fu reaches the last 16
  • Mark Williams reaches the semi-finals
  • Anthony McGill, Ricky Walden or Martin Gould to reach the final
  • Ryan Day, Michael Holt, Matt Selt, Graeme Dott or Luca Brecel to win the title.

Behind him, Ali Carter finds himself in a near-identical position, with four of the above outcomes needing to go against him, with the exception that Marco Fu could pass him with a last 32 run. Carter’s position also remains in his own hands, as he was able to successfully qualify for the tournament in Daqing and will face Robbie Williams in his opening match at the venue.

Next up is 14th placed Marco Fu, who will meet young Thai talent Akani Songsermsawad first up in Daqing. For him to lose his top 16 position heading to Belfast and York, he would need to lose his opening three match and for three of the following results to happen:

  • Mark Williams to reach the quarter-finals
  • Anthony McGill, Ricky Walden or Martin Gould to reach the final
  • Ryan Day, Michael Holt, Matt Selt, Graeme Dott or Luca Brecel to win the title.

Perhaps most vulnerable is Kyren Wilson, who has not entered the tournament and so is unable to improve upon his ranking total at the International Championship. Mark Williams would overtake him with victory against Wang Yuchen at the venue, while Anthony McGill and Ricky Walden would leapfrog him with runs to the semi-finals.

Stephen Maguire, Martin Gould and David Gilbert need to make the final if they are to pass Wilson, while a further eight players would do so with the title.

The man currently on the bubble is Mark Williams, who as stated above would strenghten his position significantly with a single victory which would see him pass Wilson and put another player between him and the cut-off mark. Defeat against Wang however would leave him vulnerable to a string of players behind him, with Anthony McGill closest to him and needing a semi-final run to pass him.


The Top 32

With the three players ranked 31-33 all having failed to qualify for the venue stages of the International Championship, there is potential for change in and around the top 32 if one of two of the lower ranked players are able to put a run together.

Closest to 32nd placed Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and still in the tournament are Mark King, Tom Ford, Jimmy Robertson and Jamie Jones, who would all need to reach the semi-finals if they are to overhaul the Thai player.

A number of players could pass Un-Nooh with a run to the final, while the title would be enough for any remaining tour player in the draw to climb straight into the top 32.

The Top 64

For the first time this season we are already guaranteed to see a new face inside the top 64 at the next seeding revision, with Alfie Burden already assured of overtaking Jamie Burnett, who has not played since the Indian Open.

There could yet be further changes however, with Chris Wakelin having thrust himself into contention with his recent quarter-final run at the English Open and needing to repeat the feat if he is to break into the top 64 for the first time.

The semi-finals would be enough for Daniel Wells and Ross Muir to do the same, while the remaining 14 in the draw would be guaranteed to do so with a run to the final.

Champion of Champions

There are also ranking battles to be fought in Daqing to qualify for the Champion of Champions. Read more at my previous blog.

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