Race to Preston: Live Blog

The season-long battle for places at the 2017 Ladbrokes World Grand Prix comes to a head this week as ranking event snooker returns to our screens with the venue stages of the German Masters from Berlin.

Following the conclusion of the Scottish Open event won by Marco Fu just before Christmas, we analysed the current standings in the qualification race to reach the Preston Guild Hall, with only the action the action from the Tempodrom remains to be completed before the line-up is set.

For a full explanation as to the applicable criteria, you can check that post out here, while below you can find the latest live standings, which will chart the positions of the final few qualifiers and those who can still dislodge them during the week in Berlin.

Provisional World Grand Prix draw

The draw for the World Grand Prix is now set:

Mark Selby (1) v Martin Gould (32) – 1pm Wednesday  February 8

Mark Williams (17) v Joe Perry (16)

Anthony Hamilton (9) v Mark Allen (24)

Dominic Dale (25) v Liang Wenbo (8)

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Yan Bingtao (28) v Ronnie O’Sullivan (5) – 7pm Tuesday  February 7

Ricky Walden (21) v Neil Robertson (12)

Barry Hawkins (13) v Kyren Wilson (20)

Judd Trump (4) v Tom Ford (29) – 7pm Monday February 6

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Ali Carter (3) v Zhou Yuelong (30)

Mark King (14) v Stephen Maguire (19)

David Gilbert (22) v  Anthony McGill (11)

Marco Fu (6) v Jamie Jones (27)

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John Higgins (7) v Michael White (26) – 7pm Monday February 6

Ryan Day (23) v Stuart Bingham (10)

Michael Holt (18) v Shaun Murphy (15)

Yu Delu (31) v Ding Junhui (2)

These draws are provisional and subject to event entries.

Latest qualification standings as of 04/02/2017:

28th – Yan Bingtao – £43,600*
29th – Tom Ford – £43,525*
30th – Zhou Yuelong – £42,550
31st – Yu Delu – £40,625
32nd – Martin Gould – £40,550*
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46th – Stuart Carrington – £28,575* – (SF minimum)
47th – Thepchaiya Un-Nooh – £28,500* (SF minimum)
48th – Robin Hull – £28,375* – (SF minimum)
52nd – John Astley – £26,400* (final minimum)
57th – Akani Songsermsawad – £25,000* (final minimum)
60th – Peter Ebdon – £23,312* (final minimum)
62nd – Zhao Xintong – £22,137* (final minimum)
81st – Jimmy White – £14,000* (needs the title)
92nd – Zhang Yong – £10,025* (needs the title)
*player has qualified for the German Masters

Sunday Blog

15:14 – The final of this year’s German Masters is now underway, but still are still set to be changes to the World Grand Prix draw regardless of the outcome today in Berlin.

If Ali Carter wins the title, he will climb one position to second place on the one-year list, meaning that he would swap positions in the draw with Ding Junhui.

On the other hand if Anthony Hamilton were to win the title, he would climb from 17th to 9th position, affecting the draws of every player in betweem as each would be shuffled down a postion.

Saturday Blog

13:40 – Although the field for next week’s World Grand Prix is now set, the draw remains unconfirmed with possibilities for each of the four players still remaining in the tour to climb further up the one-year ranking list. All of the permutations are as follows:

Ali Carter – At present Carter sits in fourth position on the one-year ranking list, but he could still finish anywhere between 2-5 depending on the outcome this week in Berlin. Defeat to Martin Gould today, combined with a title victory for Stuart Bingham would see him drop one to five, whereas a loss combined with another tournament winner would see him remain fourth. If he can make it to the final he would climb one place to third, while the title would leave him second behind only Mark Selby.

Stuart Bingham – Currently up to ninth on the list, Bingham will remain there regardless of the outcome of his semi-final against Anthony Hamilton, but would drop to 10th if he were to lose and see Hamilton go on to claim his first ranking title. If he were to go on to take the title against Martin Gould tomorrow he would climb as high as fourth, while if Carter were to be his final opponent then fifth would be his reward for victory in Berlin.

Anthony Hamilton – Hamilton can currently be found at number 20 on the list, an incredible achievement already for a player who started on zero points on a fresh two-year tour card. Victory against Stuart Bingham today would see him climb three more places to 17th position, whereas the title would see him surge into the top ten at number nine.

Martin Gould – Up into the top 32 following his victory against Ryan Day last night, Martin would climb up to 24 above Mark Allen by making it back to the final, with 15th the potential reward for a successful defence of his title.

17:54 – Victory for Ali Carter in today’s first semi-final means that the players positioned 21-32 on the one-year ranking list are now set and cannot move in the draw for the World Grand Prix. Carter himself climbs up to third position, with the potential gain one more place with the title tomorrow.

Martin Gould (ENG)
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Friday Blog

14:09 – Day three in Berlin and now there are just three players remaining who can break into the top 32 on the one-year list and qualify for next week’s World Grand Prix.

Two of them are in action this morning, Yan Bingtao and Ben Woollaston taking on Michael Holt and Barry Hawkins respectively knowing that victory would guarantee qualification.

If both do win their last 16 matches, Martin Gould would need to reach the final here in Berlin, but defeat for one would mean that a semi-final run would be sufficient for the Pinner Potter.

16:47 – Within minutes of each other, two big results in Berlin with implications for the World Grand Prix qualification race. First to finish was Ben Woollaston, whose 5-2 defeat to Barry Hawkins leaves him unable to improve upon 34th position on the one-year list and so out of contention to make it to Preston.

One man who has made it however is 16-year-old Chinese star Yan Bingtao, who with a 5-1 victory against Michael Holt climbs up from 33rd position to 28th and now cannot fall outside of the top 32 this week. Yan’s rise means that Matthew Stevens drops out of the running for a place in Preston, with Mark Davis now on the borderline in 32nd.

17:55 – Wins for Anthony Hamilton and Stuart Bingham this afternoon have seen them move up the one-year ranking list, significantly changing the provisional draw above.

22:38 – He’s done it! Martin Gould has secured himself a place at next week’s World Grand Prix following a 5-2 victory against Ryan Day during this evening’s quarter-final matches. The win means that he climbs up into 32nd place, narrowly edging out Mark Davis by £275 to earn himself a clash against top seed Mark Selby as it stands – unless of course he can go further still this week in Berlin.

The result means that the field for Preston is now confirmed, with only the exact order of the seeds still to be confirmed during the rest of this weekend in Berlin.

Thursday Blog

12:22 – Day two in Berlin and at the time of writing another key match in the race for World Grand Prix qualification is underway as 16-year-old Chinese prodigy Yan Bingtao takes on Dominic Dale in the morning session.

Occupying the final qualifying position in 32nd place coming into the tournament, Yan was overtaken by Tom Ford last night following his win against Peter Ebdon, meaning that Yan must win today’s match if he is to remain in contention to make it to Preston. He currently leads Welshman Dale 3-1, Dominic already looking certain of his place at the Guild Hall next week.

13:02 – Down to seven players remaining this week who can gatecrash the top 32 now following a 5-3 defeat for Zhang Yong to former world champion Stuart Bingham this afternoon. Meanwhile, Dominic Dale has taken a close fifth frame on the black to stay close to Yan Bingtao at 2-3 in their crucial encounter…

13:42Yan Bingtao moves back into play for a place in Preston with a 5-2 victory against Dominic Dale which lifts him up above Tom Ford into 32nd position as things stand.

Ford will be back in action tonight during the last 16 as he takes on Mark King, who scored a superb victory against Ronnie O’Sullivan yesterday evening from 4-1 down.

18:02 – There are now just five players remaining in the draw who can still break into the top 32 on the one-year list, following defeats for Stuart Carrington and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh during this afternoon’s final set of first round matches.

Ben Woollaston is currently locked at 4-4 with Neil Robertson, knowing that he must reach at least the quarter-finals if he is to have any chance of making it to Preston.

18:22 – And Woollaston has kept his hopes alive by clinching the decider to knock out the former world champion and reach the last 16. Awaiting him there will be Barry Hawkins, with the pair due to face off in tomorrow afternoon’s session.

22:45 – For the second evening a row, a big victory for Tom Ford who has seen off Mark King to reach the quarter-finals in Berlin. With his prize money earned from the event now guaranteed to double from £3,750 to £7,500, he climbs from 33rd on the provisional one-year list to 28th, guaranteeing that he will now qualify for the World Grand Prix in Preston.

As a result, Yan Bingtao again drops out of the 32 provisional qualifiers, but knows that victory tomorrow against Michael Holt would also guarantee him a place, at the expense of Welshman Matthew Stevens who having failed to qualify for Berlin is now unable to defend 32nd position.

A further consequence of Ford’s victory is that Zhou Yuelong, Yu Delu, Mark Davis and Stevens are all shuffled down a place in the seeding list and therefore change positions in the provisional draw above.

Wednesday Blog

17:04 – A flying start for defending champion Martin Gould at the German Masters, a 5-0 win against Jamie Jones to reach the last 16 in Berlin. He still needs to win at least two more matches and make it to the semi-finals if he is to qualify to play in Preston.

Elsewhere this afternoon, Robin Hull, who also needs to reach the semi-finals if he is to stay in the race edged through 5-4 against Jimmy White to end the Whirlwind’s hopes of a return to the Guild Hall.

A big match takes place later this evening as 33rd placed Tom Ford takes on Peter Ebdon for a place in the last 16, knowing that a win would move him up into position to qualify via the one-year list subject to how Yan Bingtao gets on tomorrow morning against Dominic Dale.

0:24 – A crucial victory for Tom Ford this evening as he defeated Peter Ebdon 5-2 to book his place in the second round and provisionally move up into the top 32 on the one-year list.

Out of the running however are Ebdon, Akani Songsermsawad, and John Astley, who all fell this evening meaning that there are now just nine players who can still break into that all important top 32 for Grand Prix qualification.