Race to the Crucible – 3 April 2016

With just one match to be played, today, before the World Championship, the seeding of the top 16 players is now decided, as Matt Huart explains in his WPBSA blog :

Seeding List Set For Sheffield

CrucibleTrophy

2nd April 2016 – 6:28pm

Following the conclusion of the semi-finals of the China Open today, the seeding list for the 2016 Betfred World Championship has now been set.

Wins for Ricky Walden and Judd Trump in Beijing mean that they move to fifth and ninth places respectively and now cannot climb higher, irrespective of the outcome of tomorrow’s final.

As well as knowing who the top 16 will be (all have confirmed their entry for the year’s biggest tournament), we now also know how they will each be placed into the draw for the Crucible, with top seeded Stuart Bingham set to face the 16th seed in the second round, 2 v 15 and so on.

The draw will therefore be as follows:

Stuart Bingham (1) / Qualifier

Stephen Maguire (16) / Qualifier

Ricky Walden (9) / Qualifier

John Higgins (8) / Qualifier

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Judd Trump (5) / Qualifier

Martin Gould (12) / Qualifier

Mark Williams (13) / Qualifier

Neil Robertson (4) / Qualifier

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Shaun Murphy (3) / Qualifier

Marco Fu (14) / Qualifier

Barry Hawkins (11) / Qualifier

Ronnie O’Sullivan (6) / Qualifier

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Mark Allen (7) / Qualifier

Joe Perry (10) / Qualifier

Michael White (15) / Qualifier

Mark Selby (2) / Qualifier

As we have learned many times previously, inevitably there will be opening round shocks, not least with the likes of Ali Carter and Ding Junhui potentially involved this year, however it is always interesting to look ahead to potential second week matches.

Before today we were on course for a quarter-final encounter between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Neil Robertson, but Judd Trump’s victory means that he now switches places with O’Sullivan in the draw and so could face Robertson in a repeat of their 2014 quarter-final at the Crucible.

The qualifiers get underway next Wednesday from Ponds Forge, Sheffield, with the draw set to be made at 11:00am Monday morning live on the World Snooker YouTube channel.

In fact being overtaken by Judd Trump in the ranking might prove a blessing in disguise for Ronnie as he is now “away” from Judd Trump, Neil Robertson and John Higgins; he can only meet them in the final.

Of course, he’s in the same half as Shaun Murphy and Mark Selby, but he has a very good record over Shaun, and going by their last encounters I have a feeling that he’s over his mental block against Mark Selby, having realised, during the last UK Championship, that Mark isn’t playing any different when he faces other guys, and, that he’s also a very, very good player. In fact Ronnie has turned into a Selby fan, believe it or not.

Anyway … bring it on!

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