Rankings Watch: Maplin Electronics UK Championship Update

As you might expect, the second biggest tournament of the year has seen a few significant changes to the provisional rankings this week as the likes of Shaun Murphy have made huge strides up the list…

No better place than to start with the two finalists this week who have both recovered from tricky starts to the season to move into the top six of the provisional rankings. World number three Murphy of course had lost all four of his opening round matches in ranking events this season before this event and found himself lying in sixth place as a result. His victory in Telford though sees him gain 7,500 points and leap back up into a clear third place ahead, though still well behind O’Sullivan and Maguire at the top.  Perhaps more importantly, he has moved up from an unbelievable 44th place on the one year rankings, to a much safer spot of 9th which will ensure that he does not start 2009/10 needing a number of wins to stay in the top 16.

Marco Fu similarly had not enjoyed a particularly strong start to the season, his best result previously being a quarter-final run in the Shanghai Masters, but bounced back in style to make the final here. On the two year list he has moved up from ninth place to what must be a career high of number six, as well as in the one year standings. If he can just string together a bit more consistency than he has managed before during his career then there is a real chance that he could move into the top four for the first time.

Currently in that top four, despite his defeat to Marco in the semi-finals is Ali Carter who continues his consistent form with his third last four appearance of the season. His 4,800 points gained see him become the highest ranked player provisionally not yet to have won a major title, just ahead of Ryan Day who slips a couple of places following his first round exit.

Surprisingly, another player sliding down slightly is Mark Selby who most snooker fans would probably regard as one of the top two or three players around at the moment. Following his withdrawal from Bahrain and his round one exit here though, he currently finds him down in ninth place on the two year list, and 15th on the one-year one when minimum points for the rest of the season are taken into account. While Shaun Murphy has shown that it only takes one good event to turn things around, Mark will be concerned that his excellent form and his generally standing in the game right now is not quite translating into tournament wins.

Despite only reaching the last 16, by coming back from behind to defeat Andrew Higginson 9-8 in a thrilling match Peter Ebdon’s win was a significant one as it has kept him in with a chance of retaining his place in the top 16 for yet another season. Had he lost then he would have found himself down in around 20th position provisionally and in no form whatsoever, but his extra 1,800 points gained could just prove to make all the difference…

Looking further down the rankings, Stephen Lee’s run to the quarter-finals has given him a significant boost, moving him up to 25th provisionally, having come into the tournament outside of the top 32. While a return to the top 16 looks fairly unlikely to happen next season, if he can keep winning matches and put himself high up the one year list (currently 19th), then he will be well-positioned to return for 2010/11.

In a similar vein, by winning their opening round matches, Ken Doherty and Graeme Dott have halted their respective tumbles down the rankings and given themselves a chance of remaining in the top 32. While neither are exactly shooting up the rankings, at least they are moving in the right direction again.