Milkins

Closing In On The Cut: December 2014

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With the advent of flat draws in snooker, not all of the mid-season seedings revisions that we see in the sport are as important as they once were, but as we head into this week’s UK Championship at the Barbican Centre in York, there are a number of key placings to be determined ahead of the December revision.

In particular, we have a three-way fight for the world number one ranking, while there remain places available at the Masters in January. Click below for a round-up of the various permutations following the ET4 event and links to all of the important lists…

  • Click here to view the draw for the UK Championship
  • 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 8th December 2014 following the UK Championship, the current seedings list will be revised for the fourth time this season and will be used to determine the seedings for the Masters, German Masters and Welsh Open tournaments.

By the time of the revision, money earned from the 2012 APTC1, 2012 Wuxi Classic, 2012 Australian Goldfields Open, 2012 EPTC1, 2012 EPTC2 , 2012 APTC2, 2012 Shanghai Masters, 2012 UKPTC1, 2012 UKPTC2, 2012 UKPTC3, 2012 ET3, 2012 APTC3, 2012 International Championship, 2012 UKPTC4, 2012 ET4 and 2012 UK Championship will have been deducted and replaced by those from this season’s events up to that date.

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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

Following the most recent seedings revision after Ricky Walden’s victory at the International Championship, world number one Mark Selby enjoyed a lead of over £80,000 to nearest challenger Neil Robertson.

With Mark having a significant amount of money to defend from his victory at the 2012 UK Championship however, the race to become world number one after this year’s tournament in York is wide open, with Robertson and China’s Ding Junhui leading the way.

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In fact, it is Ding, who despite his failure to qualify for the final stages of the International Championship in Chengdu, currently heads the latest projected list from Neil Robertson by just £5,318, while Selby is a further £29,598 back.

With Robertson in the top half of the draw and both Ding and Selby in the bottom half, for Ding to become snooker’s official world number one for the first time in his career, victory in York would be sufficient, as would defeat in the final to anyone other than Robertson.

For Robertson to challenge Ding, he must win at least two matches in York, in which case Ding too would have to reach the last 32 in order to stay ahead of the Australian.

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If Ding were able to make it to the last 32, Robertson would have to make it to the quarter-finals in order to move above him and if Neil is able to reach the last eight, Ding would have to match that result in order to stay ahead of him.

From there the equation becomes simple, with the player progressing the furthest from the quarter-final stages finishing highest, Ding holding the edge if they were to exit at the same round.

In terms of Mark Selby, nothing less than a run to the final would do, while he would need to win the tournament if Robertson were to be his final opponent.

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. In the case of the Masters especially, a top eight seeding will in theory at least, guarantee an easier draw for the opening round.

Shaun Murphy(1)

With so much money available to the winner of the tournament following the introduction of a prize money based ranking list this season, in theory everyone down as far as 16th placed Robert Milkins could leapfrog eighth placed Shaun Murphy, although Joe Perry, Stephen Maguire, John Higgins and Milkins would need to win the title in order to stand any chance of doing so.

Realistically speaking, in all probability it will be two from Ricky Walden, Shaun Murphy, Marco Fu, Stuart Bingham and Judd Trump.

Of those currently outside of the top eight, Fu would need at least two wins, Bingham three and Trump at least a run to the semi-finals, more realistically the final, in order to challenge Murphy.

Battle for the Top 16 / Race to the Masters

Aside from the pre-World Championship seedings revision after the China Open, this is probably the most important cut-off of all to be up inside the top 16 for, with those players guaranteed a place at snooker’s biggest invitational tournament, the Masters.

I considered the position in detail here prior to ET4, but we can now say with a little more certainty who is at risk and who remains in contention to secure a place at the Alexandra Palace in January.

As explained previously, Ali Carter is guaranteed to take one of those places, following his seeding freeze as announced in October. To avoid confusion, this is reflected on my latest projected seedings list, so it will be the top 16 on that page who will qualify.

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With £150,000 available for the winner in York, and 16th placed Robert Milkins currently sitting on a total of £184,891, in theory everyone inside the top 70 can still surpass him, although in reality with the way that the prize money is weighted towards tournament winners, we can most likely narrow down the contenders to a far smaller number.

Clearly, the top 11 down to Judd Trump, as well as the already secure Ali Carter, will qualify for the Masters, while Joe Perry also looks a certainty barring a freak set of results at the Barbican Centre.

In 14th and 15th places come the Scottish duo Stephen Maguire and John Higgins, Stephen having edged ahead of his countryman following his last four run at the weekend’s ET4 event.

Milkins

With his run to the final in Mulheim, Robert Milkins has closed the gap on both, while both Mark Williams and Graeme Dott could still get into the mix with deep runs in York.

For the Scots to come under threat, it would take at least a quarter-final run from Milkins to demote them, while a semi-final run from Mark Williams would be enough for him to pass them, if either Maguire or Higgins were to lose in the opening round. Graeme Dott would need to reach the final if he is to trouble either of his compatriots.

In the circumstances therefore, the main fight looks to be that between Milkins, Williams and Dott for the 16th and final spot, with Milkins having extended his advantage thanks to the £10,000 earned in Germany this week.

MJW

Leading Mark Williams by £15,877, if Milkins were to lose in the first round then Williams would need to reach the quarter-finals in York to pass him, while a last 32 run from Milkins would mean that the Welshman would have to make it to the semi-finals.

For Dott, nothing less than a semi-final would be enough for him to pass Milkins, while if Milkins were to reach the last 16, Graeme would need to make it all the way to the final.

As fate would have it however, Dott and Milkins have been drawn to meet each other at the last 32 stage, so this part of the bargain is at least in Graeme’s own hands.

Further down the list, everyone else would need to reach at least the final, if they are to come into contention.

The Top 32

More a bracket of historical significance these days than practical benefit, barring a theoretically better seeding, the battle for the top 32 spots remains wide open, with several players within a win or two of 32nd placed Peter Ebdon.

We can see that those from 29th placed Dominic Dale upwards have a cushion of over £20,000 to those currently outside of the bracket however, so expect Mark King, Kurt Maflin and Ebdon to be most under threat from those ranked below them here.

The Top 64

With a better seeding on offer for the German Masters and Welsh Open to those who can finish inside of the world’s top 64, this is another of the most important sections of the ranking to keep an eye on during the UK Championship.

Wilson

Looking at the list as it stands, the only man within a single win of 64th placed Gary Wilson is China’s Li Hang, while Luca Brecel could pass Wilson with a couple of wins.

Joe Swail and Stuart Carrington would both need to win three matches, with the rest needing at least a quarter-final run.

Stay tuned here at PSB for all of the latest updates from York over the next two weeks…

  • Alan Moroney

    Great update as ever.
    I disagree with the point about seeding brackets being less important though (apart from top 48).
    Being in top 8 means you cannot play Ding, Robertson, Ronnie and Selby nor any of other top 8 until quarter-finals. Makes life much easier – even if a player outside top 8 has hit real form like Murphy, small chance of drawing him.
    Same with top 16.
    And as for top 32, I think it is really valuable to have zero chance of meeting a top 32 player until that rund which usually gives 6,000 to 7,500 points.