Race to the Evergrande China Championship

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Yesterday saw the announcement of the Evergrande China Championship, to be staged in Guangzhou, China, for which 16 players will qualify.

But how will they be selected? In short, the players will be made up by:

  • The top 10 players on the official world ranking list following the Shanghai Masters
  • The top four players on the one-year ranking list, not already qualified following the Shanghai Masters
  • Two players nominated by the China Billiards and Snooker Association

Let’s take a look at each of those three routes in turn…

The Top 10

With the top ten after Shanghai guaranteed to qualify, attention turns to the latest provisional seedings list, as already touched upon in my September rankings preview last week.

As far as the ranking race is concerned, the top eight are already mathematically certain to retain their positions inside the top 10 and qualify to play in Guangzhou.

This means that the first man who could miss out is Ricky Walden, who would drop out if he were to lose his opening match and three of the following were to happen:

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan, Joe Perry reaching the semi-finals
  • Ding Junhui reaching the final
  • Marco Fu or Mark Williams winning the title

With Ding and O’Sullivan in the same quarter, as well as Williams and Perry however, this would appear to be a highly unlikely scenario and one that Walden can turn still further in his favour by winning his opening matches in Shanghai.

Realistically then, the main battle appears to be between Perry, O’Sullivan and Ding, who are separated by just £3,208 from 8-11 on the provisional list. Simply put, it will come down to whoever can go furthest of the three, with Ding the one needing to progress a round further than either of the other two players if he is to break into the top 10.  Importantly, Ding and O’Sullivan are set to meet in the quarter-finals as mentioned above, while Perry finds himself in the opposite half of the draw.

Could anybody else spoil the party for those currently inside the top 10? Marco Fu, Mark Williams, Kyren Wilson, Ali Carter and Barry Hawkins can all still climb as high as ninth mathematically, but would need to win the title and hope for early exits for those currently occupying the final qualifying places.

The One Year List

But there is another possible route for those who fail to reach the top 10, with the top four on the one-year list outside of the top 10 also making it to Guangzhou. The one-year list is becoming an increasingly used qualification method by World Snooker, with tour places, World Grand Prix and Players Championship spots already determined by it.

The players who would currently be in contention are the following (*including prize money already earned following the Shanghai qualifiers):

  • Ali Carter – £93,150
  • Anthony McGill – £73,525*
  • Michael Holt – £32,150*
  • Kyren Wilson – £32,025

  • Mark Williams – £22,250
  • David Gilbert – £21,275*
  • Stephen Maguire – £19,000*
  • Ryan Day – £17,050*
  • Matt Selt – £17,000*
  • Kurt Maflin – £14,900*
  • Ben Woollaston – £14,000*

Of the four currently set to qualify, Ali Carter and Anthony McGill are already certain to qualify, while an opening round victory for Kyren Wilson would see his total climb past the £40,000 mark and leave him well-placed to join them.

Of those looking to break into the top four currently, Mark Williams would need to reach at least the quarter-finals, which could be enough if either Holt or Wilson were to lose their opening match in Shanghai.

For next best men David Gilbert and Stephen Maguire however, nothing less than the semi-finals would do as their totals above already takes into account the £6,000 that they will earn by qualifying for the event. the remaining chasers meanwhile would all need to make the final to stand any chance of breaking into the top four.

CBSA Nominations

Finally, two players will be selected by the CBSA, who can be either current professionals or amateur players. Further details will be announced in due course.

If you are unsure as to anything above, please drop me a tweet @prosnookerblog, while I will be keeping a live list updated throughout the week!