Another update on players withdrawing from the World Qualifiers

Here are some more infos, provided by the reliable Nikolay on twitter.

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Also, according to Lewis – see comments section – Ding and Luo Honghao are due to travel on the 9th of July, entering the UK on the 10th. For what we know, Luo’s visa is not sorted yet, but he’s optimistic.  If they are quarantined for 14 days, this might be an issue for Luo, but one that WPBSA could sort out probably. Luo is due to start in round 2.

As it stands, there are five players who were due to play in round 3, who have withdrawn: Zhou Yuelong, Zhao Xintong, Xiao Guodong, Yuan Sijun and Li Hang. This means that Chris Wakelin, Daniel Wells, Lu Ning, Alan McManus and Tian Pengfei will now start in round 3 instead of round 2. Should Hossein Vafaei fail to get his visa, Sunny Akani, provided he gets his, would also need to play only two matches.

The first round could be considerably shortened, with currently only 31 pros set to play in that round, including some who may find it difficult to get a visa and travel if they aren’t already in the UK, or who might just decide that it’s not worth the hassle. I’m thinking mainly about Rory Thor, whose season has been plagued by health issues, stands currently ranked 100th and in his second year, or Alex Borg who hasn’t won a match all season.

3 thoughts on “Another update on players withdrawing from the World Qualifiers

  1. Just because a player hasn’t won a match all season doesn’t necessarily mean they wouldn’t bother playing in Sheffield – indeed some players seem to use their professional tour card as a 2-year preparation for Q School! The money is worthwhile and it is after all the World Championship.

    Rory Thor is in fact in the UK, at Keith Warren’s academy in Sheffield. If he played in the Covid Classic, he can play in the WC. The UK quarantine rules look like being relaxed sufficiently for players in most European countries to compete, assuming travel is available.

    One other obvious player who might have difficulty is Amine Amiri. Then 7 of the 16 amateur wildcards will have major difficulties if they don’t suddenly arrive in the next few days.

    Apart from Ebdon, all the British players seem happy to play. With most of the non-British players also entering, I would say that’s a good turnout considering the circumstances. It’s possible that some of the Chinese players were thwarted by bureaucracy, but they cannot say that, so the official WPBSA line of ‘unless they choose not to’ can be maintained.

    If Hossein doesn’t arrive, then it’s going to be Luca Brecel against Ryan Day for a Crucible place, which should be a decent match for the new ES coverage…

    The next deadline looming is the Q School entry, which is tomorrow.

    • Of course you are right about Thor. He played in the CLS so will probably enter here as well. Regarding Alex Borg, it’s not just that he hasn’t won a match, he’s 51 and probably needs to travel from Malta. I’m just not convinced that he’s still that interested in being a professional. Then, of course, winning just one match here is a big pay day.

      • Some older players have sons with professional ambitions. I don’t know how Alex Borg makes his money, but if it’s by coaching or playing exhibitions, then being a ‘Professional’ adds a bit of premium, as with Steve Mifsud. But we have repeatedly seen that it’s very very difficult for players to make a final decision to retire. And we’ll see the same thing yet again at Q School next month.

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