Rankingswatch: Pre-Welsh Open Analysis

Latest Seedings List

As I am sure some of you will be sick of me repeating by now, the seedings for the World Championship and indeed the China Open will be determined following the ongoing Welsh Open tournament. With the venue stage to come, I take a look at who still has something more than the above trophy to play for next week…

The Top 16

While I often find the World Championship qualifiers to be some of the most enjoyable matches to watch each year, they must be up there with the worst for the players to play in given all that is at stake. For 16 of the circuit’s 96 professionals however they will be spared all of that tension as they will qualify for the Crucible as of right and for the first time ever we head into mid-February not knowing for sure who they will be.

The contenders are:

# NAME 2008/09 POINTS* 2009/10 POINTS
2010/11 POINTS** GM
14 Jamie Cope
14220 13980 700 700 34800
15 Ricky Walden 4700 10230 15420 1900 700 32950
16 Marco Fu 4500 10360 12940 3200 1400 32400
17 Stuart Bingham 3375
11015 15385 575 1400 31750
21 Mark King 5700 14460 8545 700 700 30105
22 Ryan Day 8200 12160 7265 1400 575 29600
23 Matthew Stevens 1725 10715 15100 1400 575 29515

Ok so first things first, what can we say for sure?

Firstly, qualifying defeats today for Stephen Lee, Mark Davis and Andrew Higginson mean that they cannot now improve their positions ahead of the final seedings revision and so will have to qualify for the season’s remaining two tournaments. There is however hope for those around them as Stuart Bingham, Mark King, Ryan Day and Matthew Stevens can all still mathematically move up into the top 16, although for Ryan and Matthew nothing short of a run to the final would give them any sort of chance.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Jamie Cope will be safe if he wins his opening match and even if he does not, could only be knocked out by Ricky Walden and Marco Fu both reaching the semi-finals with Stuart Bingham going on to win the tournament.

Below that though is where it starts to get interesting. An opening round victory for Walden against Dave Harold should be enough to leave the former Shanghai Masters winner safe as then Marco would be required to reach the semi-finals and Stuart the final in order for them to move above him.

The most obvious battle therefore is that between Fu and Bingham, both winners in qualifying today and both through to the venue stage in Newport. What that does mean is that Stuart now faces a tough task to move up ahead of Marco as even if he were to defeat Mark Selby and see Fu lose to Mark Williams in the last 32, he would still have to win a further match to move above him in the rankings. Similarly, should Marco lose at the last 16 stage, Stuart would have to reach the semi-finals in order to pass him.

What about Mark King? He would have to reach at least the semi-finals and hope that Marco were to lose out in the last 32 in order to stand any sort of realistic chance.

For those wondering about Stephen Hendry, on the face of it he could be passed with a title for Stuart Bingham together with deep runs for Ricky Walden, Jamie Cope and Marco Fu. Upon closer inspection however, Marco and Jamie are poised to meet in the last 16 so both of them cannot earn the amount of points required to jump Stephen, leaving him safe for another year.

Prediction: No change, Cope, Walden and Fu to dodge the qualifiers

The Top 32

The contenders…

# NAME 2008/09 POINTS* 2009/10 POINTS
2010/11 POINTS** GM
31 Dominic Dale 1725 7990 11680 1900 1400 24695
32 Marcus Campbell 1350 9470 11810 575 1400 24605
34 Nigel Bond
5200 9225 6790 1400 1400 24015
35 Rory McLeod 3250 8910 8960 325 1400 22845
37 Jamie Burnett 3950 7250 8790 900 1400 22290
41 Anthony Hamilton
2550 7160 8640 1900 1150 21400

So again, what can see we see from the start? Firstly, Tom Ford, Robert Milkins, Mike Dunn, Fergal O’Brien and Steve Davis are all out of the running following their defeats in qualifying and so have been removed from the list.

With a gap between Marcus Campbell and the chasing pack it is immediately evident that Nigel Bond will need to make the quarter-finals, Rory McLeod the semi-finals, Jamie Burnett the final and Anthony Hamilton to win the title in order to stand any sort of chance. Having already seen Jamie reach one final this season however, nothing can be ruled out!

With all of these players having won their opening matches already, there are not so many points to gain as there are for those chasing top 16 places and so I would expect these positions to remain unchanged.

Prediction: No change, Dale and Campbell to remain

The Top 48

The contenders…

# NAME 2008/09 POINTS* 2009/10 POINTS
2010/11 POINTS** GM
46 Mark Joyce
975 7740 9685 900 450 19750
47 Alan McManus 2750
7040 8210 1150 450 19600
48 Joe Swail 3375 6215 6280 2500 1150 19520
50 Dave Harold 3050 5885 7920 1150 1400 19405
54 Rod Lawler 3200 7975 5720 325 1400 18620
56 Jack Lisowski 1463 5040 8700 1400 1400 18003
58 Jimmy White 1500 4870 9215 900 1150 17635

Moving on, the battle for top 48 spots has come down to the above players, interestingly with those currently occupying the three places all already out of the tournament and unable to mount a counter-attack to any potential challengers.

Of the three, Mark Joyce will only be denied in the event that both Rod Lawler and Jack Lisowski win through to meet each other in semi-final one, an unlikely prospect given the quality of some of the other names in that section I would imagine.

Similarly, Alan McManus looks to be fairly secure as while a win for Dave Harold against Ricky Walden would leave him on the edge in 48th, it would still take one of either a quarter-final from Lawler, a semi-final from Lisowski or a run to the final from Jimmy White to deny him.

Joe Swail however will be sweating now and hoping that Dave Harold cannot progress beyond the last 32 or that one of the other events mentioned in the paragraph above does not happen.

Prediction: Again, status quo to be resumed, although a Harold win against Walden would not be too big a shock. Still, Joyce, McManus and Swail to survive.

The Top 64

Nothing to see here!

So after all the build-up, I am predicting that there will be no significant change to the seedings next week in Newport, the damage having already been done in qualifying. We shall see if that is how it pans out…