Closing in on the Cut: September 2016
Next week sees the conclusion of the 2016 Shanghai Masters, following which the main seeding list for World Snooker events will be revised for the third time this season.
The updated list will be used to determine the seedings for the English Open, at which the top 16 players will be seeded in the draw, with the remaining 112 to be drawn at random.
- Click here to view the draw for the Shanghai Masters
- Click here to view the latest provisional seedings
- Click here to view the prize money schedule for events this season
On the 26th September 2016 following the Shanghai Masters, the current seedings list will be updated for the third time this season and will be used to determine the seedings for the 2016 English Open.
By the time of the revision, prize money earned from the 2014 AT1, ET1, Wuxi Classic, Australian Goldfields Open, ET2 and Shanghai Masters tournaments will have been deducted and replaced by that from this season’s events up to that date. This prize money has therefore already been removed from the latest provisional seedings list, to show the situation as up to date as possible.
Please note that all seeding permutations below are on the basis that all eligible players enter the relevant events.
Battle for Number 1
Having already extended his lead at the top of the rankings following his victory at last month’s Paul Hunter Classic, long-term number one Mark Selby is set to move even further clear of the chasing pack in China.
This is because his closest challenger Stuart Bingham won in Shanghai two years ago and now must defend the £85,000 that he won to kick off what would be his World Championship winning season.
As a result, should both players exit at the same stage next week, Selby’s lead would increase from £93,116 to a huge £158,616. Even if Bingham were to successfully regain the title, he would remain some distance behind Selby, while another title for the Jester from Leicester could see his lead exceed the £200,000 mark.
With Bingham facing a drop in total prize money to his ranking, he could potentially lose second spot to Shaun Murphy this week, however the 2005 world champion would have to win the title to make that happen. If Murphy were to defeat Bingham in the final, he would overtake Stuart by just £274!
The Top Eight
With the top six assured of remaining inside the top eight following the Shanghai Masters, the two who could potentially drop out are Mark Allen (defending runner-up money from 2014) and Ricky Walden.
For Allen to be dislodged, two of the following would need to happen if the Northern Irishman were to lose his opening match against either Anthony McGill or a wildcard:
- Ricky Walden to reach the semi-finals
- Joe Perry or Ronnie O’Sullivan to reach the final
- Ding Junhui or Marco Fu to win the title
For current eighth placed man Ricky Walden meanwhile, an early exit would see him vulnerable to one of the following outcomes:
- Joe Perry or Ronnie O’Sullivan reaching the semi-final
- Ding Junhui reaching the final
- Marco Fu or Mark Williams winning the title
Elsewhere, it looks likely that the top ten after Shanghai will be completed by two from Joe Perry, Ronnie O’Sullivan or Ding Junhui, with Perry and O’Sullivan holding the advantage heading into the tournament. Interestingly however, O’Sullivan and Ding are seeded to meet at the quarter-final stage, with Perry in the opposite half of the draw.
The Top 16
Crucially for the English Open, the top 16 will be seeded and therefore assured of avoiding each other in the early rounds, but the remaining players will be drawn at random. This means that whoever finishes ranked 17th could draw world number one Mark Selby in the opening round in Manchester, a significant change compared to the format for the International Championship for example, where the top 64 are guaranteed to avoid each other in the first round.
A look at the provisional seedings list tells us that the top 13 are already guaranteed to remain inside the top 16 following the conclusion of the Shanghai Masters. The first player vulnerable then is 14th placed defending champion Kyren Wilson, who would miss out if he were to lose early and three of the following were to happen:
- Ali Carter, Barry Hawkins reach the quarter-finals
- Anthony McGill reaches the final
- Martin Gould, Liang Wenbo, Stephen Maguire, David Gilbert, Michael White, Matt Selt, Robert Milkins, Ryan Day win the title.
An opening round for Wilson against Michael Holt (who he will meet in Shanghai for the third time in four years), would significantly strengthen his position however, leaving Carter needing the semis, Hawkins the final and other chasers the title to dislodged him.
For Ali Carter, two of the following would have to happen for him to miss out, if the World Open winner were to lose early in Shanghai:
- Barry Hawkins to reach the last 16
- Anthony McGill, Martin Gould to reach the final
- Liang Wenbo, Stephen Maguire, David Gilbert, Michael White, Matt Selt, Robert Milkins, Ryan Day, Michael Holt or Ben Woollaston to win the title
Finally, Barry Hawkins looks vulnerable in first glance in 16th position, but closest challengers Anthony McGill and Martin Gould must reach at least the final to overtake him, while the remaining chasers would need a run to the title.
The Top 32
For this particular cut-off, being inside the top 32 has no practical benefit with everybody outside of the top 16 to be drawn at random.
With most of the immediate challengers having lost in qualifying, the man closest to breaking into snooker’s traditional second tier is Jamie Jones, but even he would need to win the title in Shanghai.
The only other two players who could mathematically break into the top 32 are Kurt Maflin and Stuart Carrington, who would also need to go all the way.
The Top 64
Again, with most of the players ranked outside of the top 64 already out of the tournament, there appears to be little prospect of any player breaking into the top 64 during the course of the Shanghai Masters.
The only two players able to do so are Mei Xiwen and Scott Donaldson, both of whom would need to claim a shock title if they are to vault up the world ranking list.
For more updates throughout the event, check back here at WPBSA.com or alternatively follow my Twitter feed @prosnookerblog and @wpbsaofficial