Closing In On The Cut: Crucible 2013 (Updated)

So this is it, just one more event to go before the seedings for the 2013 World Championship are finalised and following the PTC Grand Finals in Galway last week, the position is now somewhat clearer, though much can still change.

Click below for a summary of who has to do what in Beijing, as well as a preview of how the seeds would be placed in the Crucible draw, if it were to be made today…

  • Click here to view the drawsheet for the China Open
  • Click here to view the latest projected seedings
  • Click here to view the points tariffs for events this season
  • Click here to view when points will be deducted this season

On 31st March 2013 following the China Open, the seedings list will be revised for the fourth time this season and will be used to determine the seedings for the World Championship.

As now confirmed by World Snooker, by 31st March 2013, the points from the 2010 EPTC5, 2010 EPTC6, 2011 German Masters, 2011 Welsh Open, 2011 PTC Grand Finals and 2011 China Open will have been deducted and replaced by those from this season’s ET5 event, up until that date.

As always, I have already removed those points from the appropriate column on my latest projected seedings list, to show the situation as up to date as possible…

The Crucible Draw

For those who may not be aware, unlike other tournaments, the top 16 seeded players at the World Championship are placed in the draw in a very specific manner, for example the top seed is always scheduled to meet the 16th seed in the second round, the second seed is always poised to meet the 15th seed and so on.

That being the case, the last 16 draw is currently shaping up as follows…

O’Sullivan (1) v Carter (16)
Ding (9) v Maguire (8)

Higgins (5) v Stevens (12)
Dott (13) v Robertson (4)

Selby (3) v Hawkins (14)
Williams (11) v Allen (6)

Murphy (7) v Bingham (10)
Walden (15) v Trump (2)

The only change following the PTC Grand Finals was that Ding Junhui’s victory saw him switch places with Stuart Bingham in the latest projected seedings, meaning that as it stands, Ding will find himself in the same quarter as Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Battle for Number 1

Following their respective early exits at the PTC Grand Finals, Judd Trump currently holds a lead of 2,000 points over Mark Selby, heading into the China Open.

As a worst case scenario for Judd, the current world number one would need to reach the final in Beijing to be sure of heading to the Crucible as the tournament’s second seed. In the same half as Mark Selby at the China Open, victory over Mark in the semi-finals would therefore be enough, whereas if Selby were to defeat Trump, then Mark could go on to snatch back the number one ranking by taking the title.

As a minimum, Selby must reach at least the quarter-finals if he is to take top spot, a result which would be enough were Trump to lose to former flatmate Jack Lisowski at the last 32 stage in Beijing.

A last 16 exit from Trump would mean that Selby would need to reach the semi-finals in order to reclaim top spot, while he would require the final if Judd were to lose in the quarter-finals.

Also in with a mathematical chance is Australia’s Neil Robertson following his run to the PTC Grand Finals in Galway, however nothing less than claiming the title would give him any hope.

Battle for the Top 8 (7)

With Ronnie O’Sullivan installed as top seed, only the world’s top seven players, plus the defending champion will be sure of avoiding each other until the last eight stage in Sheffield.

In effect, this battle is likely to be contested between Shaun Murphy, Stephen Maguire, Ding Junhui and Stuart Bingham, all of whom bar Murphy have been drawn in the same quarter of the draw for the China Open.

As a minimum, either Ding or Bingham would need to reach the final in Beijing to pass either Murphy or Maguire, assuming they were to lose their opening round matches. If they were to reach the last 16, then either Ding or Bingham would need to win the tournament in order to stand any chance of securing a top eight seeding for Sheffield.

Battle for the Top 16 (15)

With Ronnie O’Sullivan taking the top seeding, this means that only the world’s top 15 ranked players at the next cut-off can be sure of a place at the Crucible, without having to qualify at the EIS.

The unfortunate man currently in 16th place is Mark Davis, who fell slightly further behind 15th placed Ali Carter following the PTC Grand Finals, though remains in touching distance of the Captain.

Indeed, Ali’s defeat to Marco Fu in Galway means that if Ali were to lose a potentially tricky last 32 match against Jamie Cope in Beijing, then victory for Mark Davis against Dechawat Poomjaeng would be enough for Mark to snatch the final Crucible seeding from last year’s runner-up.

For Ali, victory against Cope would mean that Davis would then have to reach the semi-finals in order to surpass him, while a quarter-final for Carter would require Davis to reach the final.

Could anybody else be dragged into the mix? Barring something very strange happening, an opening round victory against Ken Doherty should be enough to secure Ricky Walden‘s Crucible place, though if he were to lose that match, it would take a quarter-final from Carter and a semi-final from Davis to see him drop out of the top 16 seeds in any case.

It is a similar story for Barry Hawkins, though as a qualifier he has fewer points to gain in Beijing than those around him.

The only player who could conceivable be a factor is Marco Fu, though he would require at least the title in Beijing and even that is unlikely to be enough.

The Top 32 (33)

With the ongoing Stephen Lee situation still unresolved, the man who is currently sitting in 17th place provisionally looks set to miss out on a place at the World Championship, though he has entered the tournament, in the event that a decision is reached prior to the main draw.

On the basis that he will not be taking part however, then those ranked between 16-33 at the next cut-off (excluding Ronnie O’Sullivan of course), will begin their respective Crucible campaigns at the last 48 stage.

Often a complicated battle to explain, this time the situation is clear cut, with Liang Wenbo the only man in with a realistic chance of overtaking current 33rd placed man Fergal O’Brien, which he would do with victories against wildcard Lu Ning and last 32 opponent Stuart Bingham.

The only other contenders are Rory McLeod and Jack Lisowski, though McLeod would need to reach the final in order to tie O’Brien’s points total, while nothing less than the title would do for Lisowski.

The Top 48 (49)

The battle for the top 49 (again, assuming that Stephen Lee will be absent), is also simple, with only Jimmy Robertson able to overhaul 49th placed Anthony McGill, with a win in China against his namesake Neil Robertson.

Essentially, whoever of Robertson and McGill is able to go the furthest in Beijing will take the seeding, with McGill taking it should both exit at the same stage.

The Top 64 (66)

On the basis that neither Stephen Lee, or Stephen Hendry will be in the main draw for the World Championship this year, the top 66 will start in the second round of the competition, with Norway’s Kurt Kaflin currently sitting in 66th place.

The only man who can still catch him is Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng, though following Kurt’s semi-final run in Galway, he would need to win the China Open title in order to do so.