Closing In On The Cut: July 2013 (Updated)

Following the conclusion of the Australian Goldfields Open yesterday, there is just one more event between now the season’s first seedings revision, ahead of next month’s Shanghai Masters qualifiers.

The event in question is the Rotterdam Open, which will take place this coming weekend and see those in contention battle it out to avoid having to qualify for Shanghai, or at least reduce the amount of matches required to do so.

Click below for an updated look at my blog from earlier in the month…

  • Click here to view the drawsheet for ET2
  • 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 22nd July 2013 following the ET2 event, the seedings list will be revised for the first time this season and will be used to determine the seedings for the Shanghai Masters.

As now confirmed by World Snooker, by 22nd July 2013, the points from the 2011 UKPTC1 and 2011 Australian Goldfields Open and will have been deducted and replaced by those from this season’s ET1 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…

Battle for Number 1

As we already knew following his victory at the Wuxi Classic, Neil Robertson is guaranteed to remain as the top ranked player at the next seedings revision, with a comfortable lead to second placed Mark Selby.

That said, with John Higgins poised to defend his title in Shanghai and Ronnie O’Sullivan set to be seeded second as reigning world champion, Robertson will be seeded third for the event, assuming that both John and Ronnie enter.

Battle for the Top 8 (7)

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

While there were a few different permutations here prior to Australia, now the position is clear, as there is only one combination of results in Rotterdam that can change the top eight seedings for Shanghai.

Namely, if Ricky Walden were to win the tournament, with Barry Hawkins losing his opening match against an amateur player, then Ricky would move up two places to 7th in the projected seedings and snatch the final top eight seeding from the man who defeated him at the World Championship semi-finals.

An opening match win for Hawkins, or anything less than the title for Walden however and it will be Hawkins who takes that place.

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 will earn the right to play in Shanghai without having to qualify for the tournament.

Again, following Australia this battle is somewhat clearer, with Marco Fus points earned from winning the title enough to guarantee him a place at the venue in Shanghai.

Indeed, the race for the final top 16 seeding between Mark Davis and Graeme Dott will come down to just one match in Rotterdam. Simply put, with Dott not playing in the tournament, if Davis is able to win his opening match this week against an amateur qualifier, then Davis will take the final automatic place in Shanghai at the expense of the Scot.

If Davis were to suffer a surprise defeat however, then it would be Dott who would hang on to the spot by a margin of just 20 points.

For those wondering, two-time world champion Mark Williams can finish no higher than 17th at the next cut-off, meaning that he will have to qualify for the tournament.

The Top 32 (34)

With Stephen Lee’s fate not to be decided until at least September and I assume Ali Carter likely to be absent from the tournament as he looks to continue his recovery from recent surgery, it appears as though those ranked between 16-34 at the next cut-off (excluding Ronnie O’Sullivan), will begin the Shanghai Masters at the last 48 stage.

Those immediately in the fight are:

34 – Liang Wenbo – 38020


35 – Fergal O’Brien – 37840

37 – Jack Lisowski – 37645

38 – Jamie Cope – 36605

With a maximum of 2,000 points available in Rotterdam, there are three players who could conceivably deny Liang Wenbo a top 32 seeding for Shanghai, the first of whom being Fergal O’Brien, who could do so by winning one more match than Liang this week.

Alternatively, fellow Grove player Jack Lisowski could also do the same, though some 195 points behind O’Brien, he would most likely have to win a couple of more matches than Liang, in order to take the place.

As for Stoke’s Jamie Cope, he must at least reach the final in order to stand any chance of overhauling the Chinese number two.

As an aside, if Ali Carter is able to enter the tournament, Liang would have to reach the final in Rotterdam to stand any chance of overtaking 33rd placed Michael White, while Fergal O’Brien and Jack Lisowski would both also have a more remote chance of doing the same.

The Top 48

Following changes to the tournament structure for the three events not to be held under a flat draw this season, there is not longer any benefit to a player being ranked inside the top 48.

The Top 64 (66/7)

With Stephen Lee definitely absent and on the assumption that Ali Carter is likely to be staying at home as he continues his recovery from surgery, the top 66 in the rankings at the next seedings revision will be seeded through to the second round of the Shanghai Masters qualifiers, or as it stands the top 67, with the retired Stephen Hendry currently 65th on the list.

Currently holding onto 67th spot is Tian Pengfei, however with the Chinese player not involved in Rotterdam, victory for Ian Burns against Chris Wakelin would be enough to see the Preston player leapfrog Tian up into 67th place and secure a top 64 seeding for Shanghai.

Again, if Ali Carter is able to enter the event, then Burns would have to reach at least the final in Rotterdam, to stand any chance of overtaking Barry Pinches for the final spot.