It was a race that threatened to go right to the wire, but following Robert Milkins’ defeat to Mark Selby today at the Baic Motor China Open quarter-finals, the 16 seeds to automatically qualify for the venue stages of the 2015 Betfred World Championship have now been confirmed.
Coming into the Baic Motor China Open, which is the final event prior to the all-important seedings cut-off for the Crucible, only Stephen Maguire’s participation remained in doubt of the top 16 players and after he lost to Barry Hawkins yesterday in Beijing, his fate was left out of his own hands.
Still in with a chance to move above the Scot was Robert Milkins, the ‘Milkman’ needing to defeat Mark Selby today and either Shaun Murphy or Kurt Maflin tomorrow to make it through to his first ranking event final, if he were to secure a Crucible place.
As he led Selby four times in their match it looked as though it might be Milkins’ day, but it was not to be as Mark saved his best until the last two frames, taking both to claim a 5-4 win and book his place in the semi-finals.
The result then means that Milkins must now come through three qualifying matches if he is to make it back to the Crucible for the first time since 2013, while Stephen Maguire can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that he will be seeded 16th for the Betfred World Championship and be able to prepare for the tournament without having to qualify.
Although the identity of the 16 seeds is now known, there do still remain a couple of seedings issues to be resolved, with both Ding Junhui and John Higgins able to move higher up the list ahead before the end of the week in Beijing.
Confirmation of the final placement of the seeds in the draw for the Crucible will follow later this weekend…