So here we go, a jam-packed month of snooker begins in Munich tomorrow as the PTC12 event resumes, with both crucial ranking and order of merit points up for grabs. Click below for a look at the main issues to look out for, as well as a few points to note about the upcoming World Open and more…
As explained above, tomorrow sees the resumption of the PTC12 event in Munich as the last 16 of the tournament is played to a conclusion during the course of the next three days.
As ever, all of the usual important quick-links are up on the side-bar to the right, including to the all-important projected seedings list which as of Sunday will determine the seedings for the China Open, World Open and Welsh Open tournaments.
Many of the key issues have now been resolved, but there is still the matter of whether Ricky Walden can gain the points required to reclaim a top 16 place at the expense of three-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan. In order to do so he will have to win the event which is no easy task, though interestingly to reach the final he will have to face no more than one player ranked higher than him, assuming that either Mark Allen or Martin Gould can make it to the semi-finals…
Otherwise, the top 32 now cannot change, while the top 48 is dependant on whether Xiao Guodong can win two matches, which would see him move into the top 48 at the expense of either Mike Dunn, or if Mike can defeat Mark Allen, of Jimmy White. Finally a win for David Gilbert against Joe Perry would see him move back into the top 64 at the expense of China’s Li Yan.
Grand Finals Race
As well as the rankings, there are also important issues concerning both the order of merit and indeed main tour places to be decided. At present, the man occupying 24th place and consequently the final remaining place at the PTC Grand Finals tournament is Galway is Jack Lisowski, but having already exited the tournament his fate now rests in the hands of the nine players ranked lower than him in the PTC list who could potentially leapfrog him with strong performances. While the situation will no doubt change during the course of the tournament, at present the task facing those players is as follows:
- Requiring at least a semi-final – Marcus Campbell
- Requiring at least the final – Mark Allen, David Gilbert, Stephen Hendry, Marco Fu, Mike Dunn, Kurt Maflin
- Requiring at least the title – David Grace, David Gray
Others close to the danger zone include Jamie Jones and Stephen Maguire, though Stephen is still in the competition and with a win against David Gray can all but make sure of his place.
Finally, the event is also a vital one for Leeds’ David Grace as with a win against Martin Gould at the last 16 stage he could all but make sure of his tour status for the 2012/13 season, while otherwise he will be sweating on other results later in the season to see whether he has done enough.
Elsewhere, David Gray could also earn himself a return to the main tour, however he would need to make it through to the final in order to do so.
Hainan World Open
Hot on the heels of PTC12 comes the return of the Championship League next Monday, while more importantly next Wednesday sees the start of the qualifiers for the Hainan World Open tournament, the draw for which should be released no later than Monday 9th January at 5pm.
Contrary to last season’s World Open tournament, this year the event will take on a more traditional format, with the same draw structure adopted as at other Asian events such as the China Open and Shanghai Masters tournaments.
Consequently the eight lowest seeded qualifiers for the event will have to face local wildcards at the tournament while matches will be played over the best of nine frames up until the semi-finals (11) and final (19).
The ranking points tariff will also be akin to those in Beijing and Shanghai, with a maximum 7,000 points available to the winner of the tournament which is greater than other new tournaments such as the Australian Open and German Masters, though when you consider that there is a top prize of £75,000 on offer then it is easy to see why.
As was the case with the German Masters, there is also an important issue to be pointed out with regard to the ranking points earned from next week’s qualifiers. This is because due to the venue stages of the event not taking place until the 27th February, the qualifying points will not be shown in my projected seedings table until after the Welsh Open.
As a matter of interest, the updated projected seedings list which will forecast the seedings at the crucial World Championship cut-off point, will be confirmed following the conclusion of PTC12 on Sunday evening.
The rest of the month
Elsewhere in January, as mentioned the month also sees the return of the Championship League, while it will also see the staging of the Masters tournament, which will be held for the first time at the Alexandra Palace in London.