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Jun 28 2014

Closing In On The Cut: July 2014

Selby1

We might still be in June as I write this, but little over a week from now will come the first seedings revision of the 2014/15 season, following the final of the Australan Goldfields Open in Bendigo.

Determining the seedings for this season’s Shanghai Masters, one of just three events remaining under the ‘non-flat’ draw structure, the cut-off marks the first mid-season revision under the new prize money based ranking list.

Click below for my analysis…

  • Click here to view the draw for the Australian Goldfields Open
  • Click here to view the latest projected seedings
  • Click here to view the money tariffs for events this season
  • Click here to view the money being deducted at this revision

On 7th July 2014 following the Australian Goldfields Open event, the current seedings list will be revised for the first time this season and will be used to determine the seedings for the Shanghai Masters and European Tour 1 events.

By the time of the revision, money earned from the 2012 APTC1, 2012 Wuxi Classic and 2012 Australian Goldfields Open will have been deducted and replaced by those from this season’s events up to that date.

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

Note that for this season, where a player loses their first match at a tournament, irrespective of the round, they will not receive any prize money towards their official world ranking.

Battle for Number 1

In terms of the rankings at least, the past couple of seasons have very much seen Mark Selby and Neil Robertson establish themselves at the top of the list, with Ding Junhui too bringing himself into contention over the past few months, following his remarkable five ranking event successes in 2013/14.

Following his victory at the World Championship last month, it was Selby who finished as top dog at the end of the season, leading Ding by approximately £74,000, with Robertson close to £100,000 back.

With each of them having a similar amount to defend at this cut-off (Selby £12,411, Ding £10,930 and Robertson £9,430), the top ranking was therefore very much in Selby’s hands, but depending upon the result of the final in Wuxi tomorrow, that could yet change.

This is because with early exits for Selby and Ding in Wuxi (or Gloucester in Ding’s case), as well as the decision of both not to enter the Australian Goldfields Open next week, the door has been left slightly ajar for Robertson to reclaim the world number one ranking as early as the first cut-off

To do so, he must first complete the successful defence of his Wuxi Classic title tomorrow to close to within £11,860 of Selby. before then reaching at least the final in Bendigo a week from now.

Should he lose in Wuxi, or not make the final in Australia, Mark Selby will retain the number one ranking at the end of the tournament.

Battle for the Top 8

Though a bracket of less importance, it is always useful for a player to be seeded inside the top 8, as it means that he will avoid having to face a fellow top eight seed until at least the quarter-final stages of an event.

Looking at the ranking list, 8th placed Marco Fu is already assured of a top eight seeding in Shanghai, as he stands £43,745 ahead of next man Mark Allen, with a top prize of ‘only’ £41,667 on offer for victory in Bendigo.

Fu1

Of course, that is dependant upon all of the top eight entering the event and at present it is unclear whether we will see Ronnie O’Sullivan back in action that early in the season, or whether he will stay away from tournament snooker a little longer.

If O’Sullivan were to be absent, then it would be between Allen and John Higgins for the final top eight seeding, Mark currently holding a lead of £5,959 over the four-time world champion.

If Allen were to lose his opening match against Fergal O’Brien, Higgins would be able to overtake Allen with just one victory in Bendigo, but one win for Mark and the Scot would need to reach at least the semi-finals if he is to pass him.

Battle for the Top 16

Of course the same caveat applies in respect of O’Sullivan’s participation, as well as of course Ali Carter’s continued absence from the circuit due to health reasons.

It may be therefore that the top 18 in the rankings after the Australian Goldfields Open will be automatically seeded through to the venue stages in Shanghai, but for the purposes of this article I will work on the assumption that all of the top 16 will enter, except for Carter.

On this basis, everyone as far down as 14th placed Joe Perry is definitely safe, while Graeme Dott, despite not having entered the tournament in Australia, also looks to be strongly placed. For Graeme, provisionally seeded 15th, to miss out, then two of the following would have to happen:

  • Robert Milkins, Matthew Stevens or Mark Davis to reach the final, Ryan Day, Michael Holt or Xiao Guodong to win the title.Milkins

Discounting Carter, Robert Milkins in effect becomes the provisional 16th seed and holds a small lead of £2,393 to Welshman Matthew Stevens (ignoring Mark Williams, who has not entered Australia), with Mark Davis little over a hundred pounds further back.

If Milkins can win his opening match in Bendigo, Stevens or Davis would have to go two rounds further than the Gloucester man, unless they can make it through to the final where the jump in prize money rises more significantly.

Further back, Ryan Day would need to reach the semi-finals to stand any chance of overtaking Milkins, while Michael Holt, would need to reach the final and a string of players further back could theoretically overtake him by winning the tournament.

The Top 32

Again making an allowance for the absence of Ali Carter, as it stands, every player as far down as 33rd placed man Mark Joyce will finish inside the top 32 at the first mid-season seedings revision. The importance of being among snooker’s second 16, compared to being seeded 33rd or lower, is that those players will be required to win just one qualifying match, instead of three to qualify for the venue.

Realistically, those as far down as Peter Ebdon look to be reasonably safe, with Tom Ford and Mark Joyce separated by barely £300 sitting on the bubble.

JoyceMarteel

Barring a run to the final from the likes of Jack Lisowski, or the title from Marcus Campbell, Jamie Jones or Rory McLeod, the sole short-term threat comes from Andrew Higginson, who with a run to the quarter-finals would move above both Ford and Joyce if they were to lose their opening matches.

As it stands, such a run from Higginson would put Joyce outside of the top 32, unless he were to defeat Ryan Day and leave Ford most vulnerable.

The Top 64

On the basis that Ali Carter will be absent, as well as perhaps India’s Pankaj Advani, it may be that those as far down as 66th placed Dave Harold on the list secures a top 64 seeding for the Shanghai Masters.

In terms of potential changes to the current pecking order, the only man with a mathematical chance of moving up into the top 64 is Scott Donaldson, who would need to win the Australian Goldfields Open if he is to do so.

Stay tuned here at PSB for all of the latest updates from Bendigo next week…

  • Rana Mittra

    For the bit about Graeme Dott, you mention that Milkins, Davis, Stevens need to reach the final, as well as Day, Holt or Goudong needing to reach the final.

    Did you mean win the tournament in the case of the latter group?

    • Matt

      Good spot, fixed.

  • bob lockhart

    to every one out there who uses this fantastic snooker blog give your thoughts for the season ahead