Masters Field to be Finalised in York

  • 19th November 2019

The 16 players who will compete at this season’s Dafabet Masters will be decided following the conclusion of the upcoming Betway UK Championship from the York Barbican.

Snooker’s premier invitational event won last season by Judd Trump returns to the Alexandra Palace from 12-19 January 2020 and will feature the world’s top 16 ranked players following the UK Championship which gets underway next Tuesday. This period therefore includes all prize money earned at ranking events from the 2017 Scottish Open up to and including the 2019 UK Championship.

The latest standings, already taking into account the prize money still to be removed from the official world rankings from the 2017 UK Championship, are shown on the latest provisional seedings list (effectively the Race to the Masters).

Already we can see that all of the players from defending champion Judd Trump, who will be the top seed for this season’s event, down to Jack Lisowski in 13th position are already mathematically certain of competing at the Alexandra Palace in January. This includes 11th placed David Gilbert, who has qualified for the competition for the first time.

The first player who could still theoretically miss out therefore is 2017 Masters runner-up Joe Perry, if he were to lose his opening match next Thursday in York against Simon Lichtenberg and thee of the following results were to happen:

  • Ding Junhui or Ali Carter to reach the last 64
  • Stephen Maguire to reach the last 32
  • Gary Wilson to reach the semi-finals
  • Graeme Dott, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh or Yan Bingtao reach the final
  • One of the next 41 players win the title

Victory for Perry against Lichtenberg, who he defeated 10-1 at the World Championship qualifiers earlier this year and is without a win on the main tour since August 2018, would strengthen his position further, while closest rivals Carter and Ding are on a collision course for the third round in York.

Below Perry is 2011 Masters champion Ding Junhui who will be looking to extend his record as an ever-present at the historic event which dates back to his run to the final back in 2007.

Awaiting him in the first round in York next week will be Welshman Duane Jones, with a potential defeat for Ding meaning that two of the following scenarios would result in him dropping outside of the top 16 at this cut-off:

  • Ali Carter to reach the last 64
  • Stephen Maguire to reach the last 32
  • Gary Wilson to reach the semi-finals
  • Graeme Dott, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh or Yan Bingtao reach the final
  • One of the next 44 players win the title

The player currently ‘on the bubble’ in 16th position therefore is Ali Carter, who is looking to return to the Alexandra Palace for the first time since 2018 having missed out on qualification last season. He is set to take on Brandon Sargeant in his York opener knowing that defeat would leave him vulnerable to one of the following outcomes which would see him fall out of contention:

  • Stephen Maguire to reach the last 64
  • Gary Wilson to reach the semi-finals
  • Graeme Dott, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh or Yan Bingtao reach the final
  • One of the next 46 players win the title

The immediate fight therefore is between Joe Perry, Ding Junhui, Ali Carter and Stephen Maguire, with three of the four likely to qualify unless a semi-final run or better of a member of the chasing pack can really shuffle the pack.

As ever, the draw for the UK Championship is strictly seeded, meaning that a number of players directly fighting for the final positions can find themselves in close proximity in the draw. This year this includes Ding Junhui (15) and Ali Carter (16), who could meet as early as the third round, as could Stephen Maguire (17) and Graeme Dott (19), and finally Joe Perry (14) and Gary Wilson (18).

You will be able to follow all of the latest live updates and updated permutations during the Betway UK Championship next week via our ‘live blog’ and via the latest provisional seedings table.