The 2018 Fuhua Group China Open is now underway in Beijing, with key positions to be decided up and down the ranking list this week ahead of the season-ending Betfred World Championship.
You can read my pre-tournament analysis of the Tour Survival battle HERE, or continue reading below for regular updates throughout the week on the latest in the Race to the Crucible, also previewed ahead of the tournament HERE.
The position of the seeds in the draw at the 2018 World Championship will also be determined following the conclusion of the China Open, in line with the positions of the top 16 ranked players after the event:
Provisional draw (updated 06/04/2018):
Mark Selby (1) / Qualifier
Mark Allen (16) / Qualifier
Kyren Wilson (9) / Qualifier
Shaun Murphy (8) / Qualifier
John Higgins (5) / Qualifier
Stuart Bingham (12) / Qualifier
Luca Brecel (13) / Qualifier
Judd Trump (4) / Qualifier
Ding Junhui (3) / Qualifier
Anthony McGill (14) / Qualifier
Marco Fu (11) / Qualifier
Barry Hawkins (6) / Qualifier
Mark Williams (7) / Qualifier
Neil Robertson (10) / Qualifier
Ali Carter (15) / Qualifier
Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) / Qualifier
Latest qualification standings as of 06/04/2018:
13th – Luca Brecel – £316,750 (r64)
14th – Anthony McGill – £314,800 (r64)
15th – Ali Carter – £313,025 (r64)
16th – Mark Allen – £311,950 (r16)
17th – Ryan Day – £299,112 (r128)
18th – Stephen Maguire – £273,025 (r64)
19th – Liang Wenbo – £258,650 (r64)
20th – Mark King – £230,950 (r32)
10:55 – Defending champion Mark Selby is through to the semi-finals of the China Open following a 6-2 victory against Mark Williams, meaning that Judd Trump is now confirmed as the fourth seed for the upcoming World Championship.
Elsewhere, a deciding frame win for Barry Hawkins against Tom Ford means that only Jack Lisowski can now deny Mark Allen the final Crucible spot, with Lisowski needing the title to vault up the ranking list into the top 16.
16:46 – And Wilson has done exactly that, edging out Ding in a decider to swap back places with Neil Robertson and move back into the O’Sullivan quarter at the bottom of the draw.
Meanwhile, defeat for Mark Allen to Mark Williams means that Ali Carter’s Crucible position is now assured, with Allen now needing to hope that Jack Lisowski, Tom Ford or Cao Yupeng does not go on to win the title if the Northern Irishman is to take the final Sheffield seeding.
12:25 – Victory for Neil Robertson against Zhou Yuelong this morning has seen the 2010 world champion switch places in the draw with Kyren Wilson, although Wilson will face home favourite Ding Junhui later today with the chance to move back up the list.
14:46 – Former world champion Stuart Bingham will definitely be back at the Crucible in 2018 following a 6-5 victory over Ricky Walden today. As well as including his fourth career 147 maximum break, the win sees him climb two places in the provisional seedings list to 13th position above Anthony McGill and Ali Carter, both now already out of the tournament in Beijing.
11:56 – Another significant result in the Race to the Crucible this morning as Mark King has fallen 6-4 to former Shanghai Masters champion Kyren Wilson. For King, who will now definitely have to qualify in Sheffield, the final could have been enough for him to make it automatically, but the remaining players still in range of the top 16 must all now win the title to snatch a Crucible spot.
20:15 – Defeat for Anthony McGill earlier in the day leaves the Scot unable to improve on 13th position, but due to other results he is now one of 13 players mathematically certain to be playing at the Crucible next month, with only Ali Carter, Stuart Bingham and Mark Allen who can still miss out mathematically.
For Carter to miss out, Bingham would have to reach the last 16, Allen the quarter-finals and then there would need to be a shock winner from lower down the rankings in Beijing.
Bingham meanwhile will be looking to at least stay ahead of Allen after the next two rounds of matches to ensure that he is not in the final spot and vulnerable to a an outsider lifting the China Open trophy on Sunday…
13:01 – Further up the list meanwhile, victory for Neil Robertson against Robbie Williams means that the 2010 world champion overtakes Luca Brecel in the Crucible Race, which as it stands means that he will swap halves in the provisional World Championship draw with the Belgian player.
12:59 – Another notable result so far as a surprise 6-5 defeat for Liang Wenbo to Welshman Duane Jones means that Liang is another player now destined for the qualifiers beginning next week at the English Institute for Sport.
Today’s results have made the position somewhat clearer as now only Mark King, who came through a decider against Peter Ebdon a short while ago, can break into the top 16 with anything less than a run to the title this week in China.
10:12 – Good news early on day two for those currently ranked inside of the top 16 as closest chaser Stephen Maguire has fallen 6-5 to Fergal O’Brien in Beijing, meaning that the Scot must now qualify for a second successive year if he is to be at the Crucible once again.
17:46 – A potentially big win for Stuart Bingham this afternoon as the 2015 world champion has won the final three frames against Matthew Stevens to come through a 6-5 winner. The result not only takes him into the last 32, but also back above Mark Allen into 15th place in the latest provisional seedings and a step closer to returning to the Crucible once again.
13:00 – Day one has not yet been completed in Beijing, but already we have seen a huge result as Mark Allen has defeated Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham 6-1, making three century breaks in the process. The win sees the reigning Masters champion climb two potentially crucial players in the Race to the Crucible, taking him back into the top 16 at the expense of Ryan Day who must now definitely have to qualify in Sheffield this year despite his impressive two-title season to date.
Elsewhere, defeats for Luca Brecel and especially Ali Carter will now leave the pair sweating on other results before their own Crucible qualification is confirmed.