Stephen Maguire has ensured that he will be among the top 16 seeded players for the 2016 Betfred World Championship following his 5-1 defeat of Alfie Burden in the quarter-finals of the China Open today.
The result means that former world number one Ding Junhui will now have to win three qualifying matches at Ponds Forge over the coming days if he is to be join the world’s best at the Crucible Theatre for a tenth successive year.
Prior to the start of the tournament, Ding’s fate rested in his own hands following strong performances recently at the World Grand Prix and Players Championship events. A 5-1 defeat to Welshman Lee Walker on the opening day in Beijing however, opened the door for the chasing pack outside of the top 16 to overhaul him this week.
One by one those players have dropped out of the tournament, but Maguire has made no mistake, defeating Gary Wilson, Jack Lisowski, Dominic Dale and today Alfie Burden to reach the semi-finals of the China Open. Earning a minimum of £21,000, the Scot will now climb from 19th to at least 16th depending on his progress this weekend.
His win today means that we now know for certain the identities of the 16 seeded players at the Crucible, although their placement in the draw may yet change depending on results this week.
As things currently stand, the draw for the Betfred World Championship would look as follows:
Stuart Bingham (1) / Qualifier
Stephen Maguire (16) / Qualifier
Joe Perry (9) / Qualifier
John Higgins (8) / Qualifier
Ronnie O’Sullivan (5) / Qualifier
Martin Gould (12) / Qualifier
Mark Williams (13) / Qualifier
Neil Robertson (4) / Qualifier
Shaun Murphy (3) / Qualifier
Marco Fu (14) / Qualifier
Barry Hawkins (11) / Qualifier
Judd Trump (6) / Qualifier
Mark Allen (7) / Qualifier
Ricky Walden (10) / Qualifier
Michael White (15) / Qualifier
Mark Selby (2) / Qualifier
In terms of potential changes, Judd Trump would rise to fifth by making the final in Beijing and so switch halves with Ronnie O’Sullivan in the draw.
John Higgins too can climb as high as fifth with victory at the China Open, while Ricky Walden could move above Joe Perry to ninth by reaching the final.
Finally, Stephen Maguire having taken a top 16 place at the last, could yet rise as high as 11th if he were to go on and claim the title this week.
Full updates will of course follow here at WPBSA.com over the course of the weekend and you can view the latest projected seedings here: http://www.prosnookerblog.com/rankings/latest-projected-seedings-2/