March 31, 2018

The Million Pound China Open and The Crucible Dash

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 3:57 pm

Fates will be decided in Beijing

Not only does the China Open become the first ever event outside the UK to have a total prize fund of over £1m next week, but we also have the annual sub-plot whereby the final seedings for The World Championship are decided over in Beijing, including of course, the 16 seeded players for The Crucible.

As it stands, the last 16 draw (if all first round matches were won by the seeded player) would currently look as follows:

Mark Selby (1) v Ryan Day (16)
Marco Fu (9) v Barry Hawkins (8)

John Higgins (5) v Neil Robertson (12)
Anthony McGill (13) v Judd Trump (4)

Ding Junhui (3) v Ali Carter (14)
Luca Brecel (11) v Mark Williams (6)

Shaun Murphy (7) v Kyren Wilson (10)
Stuart Bingham (15) v Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)

* Ryan Day and Judd Trump have (carelessly) not qualified for the final stages of The China Open so cannot improve their seeding positions.

It’s fair to say that the way these matches will pan out after this huge prize fund has been dispersed is likely to be very different from the above, however it seems highly likely that the top 3 seedings will remain as they are with the others jostling for position depending on how they get on over there. Selby of course remains seeded 1 as defending champion even if Ronnie O’Sullivan overtakes him on the main list next week.

The main obsession for us anoraks however is not where the seedings fall but who they will be. With such a huge prize fund for the eventual winner, it’s fair to say that anyone from Kyren Wilson who is seeded 10th and below could potentially miss out if they have a bad week and it goes from bad to worse with subsequent results. Conversely anyone currently seeded 60 or above could grab a late place with the title and £225,000 added to their points, some can do this with a runner up or semi final spot, so it really is all to play for.

Most at risk in terms of his Crucible place of course is Ryan Day. He may know his fate early in the week because if Mark Allen beats Noppon Saengkham in the first round, he’ll be relegated to the qualifiers. But while Allen would then be in a seeded spot, the Masters Champion would not be guaranteed remaining there unless he wins a couple more and results don’t go against him. With Stephen Maguire, Liang Wenbo and Mark King the closest behind him in the chasing pack. Either way, if I was Ryan I wouldn’t be booking a holiday for the week after next.

If you are interested in seeing all the possible permutations, then as ever head to Matt’s blog here, it’s the place where anoraks go when they die to live in perpetual harmony.

So in terms of the China Open itself, I think the thing that most of the snooker fraternity will be talking about is the Crucible seedings, which is a bit of a shame given the dosh up for grabs and maybe something the schedulers need to think about for next year, but for us anoraks and our spreadsheets this is the equivalent of rankings porn.

Note that this is also played over the best of 11 frames until the 2 session best of 19 semi-finals and oddly, a best of 21 frame final. It’s great that a lot of tournaments are now adopting the longer format matches after much moaning from this small part of the internet, it’s definitely enhancing my enjoyment of snooker this season. This is live on Eurosport all week.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

I’ll post recommended match bets on Twitter, but in terms of the outrights, I’ll go with the three names below.

Recommended Outright Bets: Mark Selby at 8/1 Ding Junhui at 16/1 and Stuart Bingham at 22/1

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