The 2018 Betway UK Championship gets underway on Tuesday as the likes of defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, world number one Mark Selby and reigning Mark Williams battle it out to take home the biggest title of the season so far from the York Barbican.
Away from the title battle however there is of course another sub-plot to consider as the final places at January’s Dafabet Masters are also determined.
For a full preview as to who looks safe and who could still miss out, check out last week’s blog, while you can read below for regular updates through the UK Championship over the next 13 days as to how the situation is unfolding..
Race to the Masters
The top 16 players in the official world ranking list following the UK Championship will qualify to play at the 2018 Dafabet Masters.
Latest Race to the Masters (07/12/2018):
14th – Luca Brecel – £312,000 (r32)
15th – Stephen Maguire – £312,025 (QF)
16th – Jack Lisowski – £287,100 (r16)
17th – Marco Fu – £276,000 (r32) – quarter-finals minimum
18th – Ali Carter – £266,750 (r32) – semi-finals minimum
19th – Joe Perry – £256,400 (QF) – final minimum
20th– David Gilbert – £246,150 (r32) – final minimum
21st – Anthony McGill – £242,525 (r128) – semi-finals
23rd – Yan Bingtao – £230,525 (r32) – final minimum
22nd – Graeme Dott – £228,000 (r32) – final minimum
24th – Xiao Guodong – £211,100 (r32) – title needed
28th – Tom Ford – £183,250 (SF) – title needed
36th – Gary Wilson – £148,125 (r32) – title needed
39th – Hossein Vafaei – £141,000 (r32) – title needed
Saturday 7 Dec
16:28 – The Race for the Masters is now run after defeat for Tom Ford to Ronnie O’Sullivan this afternoon meant that Jack Lisowski’s place at the Alexandra Palace is now confirmed.
Friday 7 Dec
16:49 – Today’s must-win match between Joe Perry and Tom Ford has gone the way of Leicester’s Ford, who has recorded a 6-2 victory to book his place in the semi-finals of the Betway UK Championship for the first time in his career.
The win means that Perry can no longer qualify for the Masters, with Ford needing to lift the title if he is to deny Jack Lisowski his debut at the ‘Ally Pally’ next month.
Thursday 6 Dec
16:29 – Joe Perry’s bid for a place at the 2019 Masters continues following a 6-4 victory against Judd Trump which puts the 44-year-old through to the quarter-finals of the UK Championship in York.
Perry must defeat Tom Ford and then potentially Ronnie O’Sullivan in the semi-finals if he is to break back into the world’s top 16.
Wednesday 5 Dec
15:17 – And then there was one place still to be confirmed at the Masters as defeat for Jack Lisowski means that Stephen Maguire’s place at the Alexandra Palace is now confirmed. This is because with only Joe Perry and Tom Ford within striking distance and both in the same half of the draw, only one of the two can overtake the 15th placed Scot.
For Lisowski, the position is now simple with either Joe Perry needing to reach the final or Tom Ford claiming the title to displace the 27-year-old.
Tuesday 4 Dec
23:13 – Following defeats for Gary Wilson, Hossein Vafaei and Xiao Guodong this evening, Luca Brecel’s position at the Masters has now been confirmed.
Their defeats mean that while there remain four players within striking distance of the 14th placed Belgian, with three in the same half of the draw there is no combination of results that would see enough players leapfrog Brecel to deny him a Masters spot.
For Stephen Maguire, only two of the following results would be enough to deny him a return to the Alexandra Palace for the first time since 2015, if the Scot were to lose his next match here in York:
- Lisowski to reach the semi-finals
- Perry to reach the final
- Ford to win the title
16:03 – David Gilbert is the latest to fall in the Race to the Masters following a 6-2 defeat to Stuart Bingham at the last 32.
16:14 – And now Jack Lisowski has claimed a significant 6-3 victory against Marco Fu in the Masters chase, a win that sends his closest challenger out of the tournament and leaves the 27-year-old on the brink.
He must now hope that neither Joe Perry or Graeme Dott (at the time of writing 5-5 with Neil Robertson) reach the final this week, with Xiao Guodong, Tom Ford, Gary Wilson and Hossein Vafaei not lifting the title.
Monday 3 Dec
23:10 – Joe Perry kept his hopes of a place at the Masters alive this evening with a 6-2 victory against Joe O’Connor to progress to the last 16.
The biggest win of the night however was earned by Scotland’s Stephen Maguire, who overcame Ali Carter to not only secure his place in the fourth round, but take out one of his closest chasers in the latest standings.
18:01 – Into the third round at the Betway UK Championship and there have been two fallers in the Race to the Masters during the opening session as Luca Brecel and Yan Bingtao have lost to Lu Ning and Kyren Wilson respectively.
For Brecel the win leaves him waiting on other results, albeit still well-placed with three chasers needing to go deep to overtake him, while Yan now cannot qualify for what would have been his Masters debut.
Defeat for the Belgian also confirms Ryan Day’s position at the Masters, the Welsh now out of reach of sufficient players to be safe.
Sunday 2 Dec
21:43 – Marco Fu has come through a 6-2 winner against Luo Honghao to set up a mouthwatering clash with Jack Lisowski between the 16th and 17th ranked players in the Race to the Masters.
Fu must now win that match and at least one more to overtake Lisowski, while the other members of the chasing pack must progress further still in order to threaten the top 16.
20:12 – It is the second day of last 64 action and so far it has been another strong one for the players immediately in the Race to the Masters with victories for Luca Brecel and David Gilbert in the afternoon session.
In action this evening are Marco Fu, Ali Carter, Yan Bingtao and Graeme Dott, all chasing further victories to keep them in contention for a top 16 place.
Saturday 1 Dec
17:07 – Joining Lisowski in the third round is Stephen Maguire, the Scot having edged out Scott Donaldson 6-4 to further consolidate his position in the battle for a Masters spot having missed out during both of the previous two seasons.
Although he remains 15th in the list, the task of those chasing him has become more difficult still, with closest chaser Jack Lisowski now needing to reach the semi-finals this week to overhaul the Scot.
14:53 – Just as he was on Tuesday, Jack Lisowski is the first man through following a quickfire 6-1 win against Mei Xiwen. The victory means that Marco Fu must now reach at least the quarter-finals here in York this week – with Lisowski himself his potential third round opponent, while Ali Carter must also now progress a round further to the semi-finals if he is to have any chance of returning to the Alexandra Palace next month.
Thursday 29 Nov
01:14 – A deciding-frame defeat for 18th placed Anthony McGill against Lu Ning this evening has ended the Scot’s hopes of a return to the Alexandra Palace in January.
Incidentally, following Ryan Day’s early exit from the tournament yesterday we now also know that Stuart Bingham will definitely qualify for the Masters, the 12th placed man now uncatchable by more than four of the chasing pack.
14:16 – Also boosting his chances of a place at the Alexandra Palace this morning is Luca Brecel, who recovered from 3-0 down to Fan Zhengyi to win 6-4 and consolidate 14th position on the list.
12:42 – Scotland’s Stephen Maguire has survived a scare this morning, recovering from 3-1 down to defeat Simon Lichtenberg 6-3 and book his place in the second round. While Maguire is strongly placed to qualify for London, in 15th place he remains vulnerable to a deep run from potentially two of the players immediately behind him in the list so he will be hoping to take matters into his own hands with a strong performance in York this week.
Importantly, the win also means that Ali Carter would now need to reach the final in order to overtake him, as opposed to the semi-finals as would have been the case had he lost today.
Wednesday 28 Nov
22:04 – Ryan Day has become the first casualty in and around the top 16 battle following a surprise 6-2 defeat to Joe O’Connor in this afternoon’s session. While the Welshman remains very well placed to qualify for the Masters, he must wait on results over the coming days to see whether any members of the chasing pack can close the gap.
Elsewhere, both Joe Perry and Graeme Dott won their opening round matches to keep their outside hopes of a return to the Alexandra Palace alive.
11:15 – First man through to the last 64 on the second day of the Betway UK Championship is Marco Fu, the Hong Kong player keeping his hopes alive of a place at the Masters with a 6-0 win against Hammad Miah.
Tuesday 27 Nov
10:00 – Day one in York and the key match to follow today in the Race to the Masters is an opening round clash for Jack Lisowski who takes on China’s Zhang Jiankang at 2:30pm as he looks to further strengthen his grip on a place at the Alexandra Palace for the first time in his career.
16:34 – And the first man through to the last 64 is Jack Lisowski following a 6-1 victory against Zhang Jiangkang. The win means that 17th placed Marco Fu must now progress to at least the last 16 to remain in contention to return to the Masters in January,