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Sunday, June 16, 2024

World Snooker Championship: 2024 preview and predictions

With not lengthy left till the primary occasion will get underneath method on the Crucible Theatre, it’s time to preview the 2024 World Snooker Championship.

The ten-day qualifying competitors on the English Institute of Sport concluded on Wednesday with 16 comfortable qualifiers becoming a member of the highest 16 seeds within the first spherical draw.

The defending champion, as is custom, will kick proceedings off for this yr’s version on Saturday.

Under is a full preview of every first spherical fixture within the 2024 World Snooker Championship, and some predictions forward of what guarantees to be an exciting 17 days of motion.

Quarter 1

Luca Brecel (1) vs David Gilbert

Session 1: Saturday, April twentieth at 10am
Session 2: Saturday, April twentieth at 7pm
Prediction: Luca Brecel

Reigning world champion Luca Brecel takes on David Gilbert in an attention-grabbing conflict that can open the match.

A ten-6 conquer Xiao Guodong on Judgement Day earned Gilbert a spot within the World Championship draw for the tenth time in his profession.

The Englishman has performed on the Crucible yearly since 2019, when he launched into a memorable run to the semi-finals.

Gilbert hasn’t featured repeatedly on the enterprise finish of tournaments in current occasions, though Brecel’s marketing campaign hasn’t actually been nice both.

The Belgian Bullet reached the finals of two profitable invitational occasions – shedding each to Ronnie O’Sullivan – and received the World Combined Doubles alongside Reanne Evans.

Other than that he has typically struggled, and as a returning first-time champion Brecel has the “Crucible Curse” to deal with as effectively.

Nonetheless, he has proven glimpses of a return to type within the second half of the marketing campaign and can fancy his possibilities in opposition to the Offended Farmer.

Robert Milkins (16) vs Pang Junxu

Session 1: Monday, April twenty second at 7pm
Session 2: Tuesday, April twenty third at 7pm
Prediction: Pang Junxu

It’ll be a tenth look for Robert Milkins on the Crucible Theatre this yr having simply sneaked inside the highest 16 as a seeded participant.

Opponent Pang Junxu made it consecutive Crucible {qualifications} courtesy of a 10-8 conquer fellow Chinese language cueist Cao Yupeng within the last spherical.

The 24 year-old is one among three Chinese language qualifiers and 5 from China who function within the first spherical draw total.

Milkins and Pang have solely performed one another as soon as earlier than, a low-key Championship League outing final summer time behind closed doorways.

The environment on this event shall be vastly totally different, a setting Pang shall be considerably accustomed to having misplaced to Ronnie O’Sullivan at this stage a yr in the past.

It has been a horrible season for Milkins, who’s method down at quantity 43 on the one-year rankings.

With two victories already underneath his belt on this competitors, Pang appears like one of many extra doubtless qualifiers to spring an upset.

Ali Carter (9) vs Stephen Maguire

Session 1: Saturday, April twentieth at 2:30pm
Session 2: Sunday, April twenty first at 7pm
Prediction: Ali Carter

In some methods it’s ironic that Ali Carter has drawn Stephen Maguire, as a result of they’ll each be making their twentieth appearances on the Crucible in 2024.

The pair first clashed all the best way again in 2000 and crossed paths on the semi-final stage of the 2012 World Championship.

Carter received then and he additionally boasts a slightly superior head-to-head document from their whole encounters with each other.

Whereas they each possess fiery temperaments, Carter has reined in these feelings over the course of the final couple of seasons to excellent impact.

The Captain has repeatedly challenged for titles in that interval, whereas Maguire has solely seldomly blown sizzling and ceaselessly been ice chilly.

At his greatest, the Scot would proceed to pose a menace to anyone on the circuit, however with the consistency not there, it’s laborious to see him advancing at Carter’s expense.

Shaun Murphy (8) vs Lyu Haotian

Session 1: Sunday, April twenty first at 2:30pm
Session 2: Monday, April twenty second at 10am
Prediction: Shaun Murphy

Shaun Murphy received the opening rating occasion of the season after which claimed that he needed to problem for the world primary spot.

Since then, the Magician has misplaced his bag of methods whereas enduring a nightmare run of type.

Lyu Haotian, who reached the second spherical in 2018, will make his fourth look on the Crucible Theatre.

The Chinese language competitor beat Murphy the primary time they performed, however since then he has misplaced two matches to an combination rating of 1-11.

Coming into this yr’s championship with zero type, it’s laborious to see 2005 champion Murphy that includes on the latter phases, however he’ll nonetheless fancy the job right here.

Quarter 2

Mark Selby (5) vs Joe O’Connor

Session 1: Sunday, April twenty first at 10am
Session 2: Monday, April twenty second at 2:30pm
Prediction: Mark Selby

Joe O’Connor is the one debutant on this yr’s World Snooker Championship draw.

The previous rating occasion runner-up outlasted Matthew Selt in a marathon 10-8 match wherein their final body took virtually two hours to finish.

O’Connor faces fellow Leicester man Mark Selby within the spherical of 32, a draw he most likely desperately wished to keep away from.

Crucible rookies typically wrestle on their maiden outing, so it received’t support O’Connor’s trigger that he’s enjoying one among his function fashions who he has didn’t beat in seven prior makes an attempt.

Selby minimize a distraught determine after shedding early on the current Tour Championship, even suggesting he might retire from the game if issues don’t enhance.

These phrases had been most likely simply stated within the warmth of the second, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see the four-time world champion have a good run in Sheffield once more.

Kyren Wilson (12) vs Dominic Dale

Session 1: Tuesday, April twenty third at 10am
Session 2: Wednesday, April twenty fourth at 10am
Prediction: Kyren Wilson

Kyren Wilson’s first-round opponent is Dominic Dale, who at 52 will develop into the primary quinquagenarian since Steve Davis in 2010 to play on the Crucible.

It’s been a formidable season from Dale, who regardless of battling with tour survival lately is provisionally set to finish this time period contained in the world’s high 40.

Wilson stays a high 16 participant however, by his requirements, has not loved a very fruitful marketing campaign.

The Warrior has reached the quarter-finals or higher six occasions in Sheffield, together with a last look in 2020, so he has pedigree on the large stage.

Certainly, he hasn’t misplaced within the first spherical since making his debut ten years in the past – 2014 being the yr of Dale’s final Crucible look – and Wilson will rightly be the favorite to progress to the final 16.

Even so, a scan of the pair’s head-to-head reveals that half of their previous battles have required a deciding body, which means it may not be fairly as easy as Wilson hopes.

John Higgins (13) vs Jamie Jones

Session 1: Wednesday, April twenty fourth at 7pm
Session 2: Thursday, April twenty fifth at 7pm
Prediction: John Higgins

If John Higgins loses within the first spherical this yr, he’ll drop out of the highest 16 for the primary time in virtually three a long time.

There are whispers that such an occasion might result in him calling time on what has been a outstanding and illustrious profession, however we’ll have to attend and see about that.

In any case, he’s more likely to have a testing time of it in opposition to an opponent in Jamie Jones who has already accounted for one more former world champion – Neil Robertson.

The Welshman shall be using a wave of confidence after that success on Judgement Day, and he has carried out effectively on the Crucible previously.

There was loads product of Higgins’ slip down the rankings, however he has truly performed solidly sufficient all season – reaching a number of quarter-finals and semi-finals.

There’ll be many tipping Jones, however Higgins isn’t going to let go of his standing among the many elite with out a combat.

Mark Allen (4) vs Robbie Williams

Session 1: Tuesday, April twenty third at 2:30pm
Session 2: Wednesday, April twenty fourth at 2:30pm
Prediction: Mark Allen

Mark Allen is provisionally ranked primary on this planet and can formally finish the marketing campaign in that place if outcomes go his method in Sheffield.

The Northern Irishman will in fact be hoping all of that can deal with itself if he can handle to land a maiden world title.

Allen has had one other robust season, profitable two rating titles along with the Champion of Champions invitational.

He lastly obtained again to the semi-finals and the only desk setup on the Crucible a yr in the past after a 14-year absence.

Allen is probably the most in-form participant in his quarter of the draw this yr so a repeat efficiency appears to be on the playing cards.

Robbie Williams, in the meantime, represents the lowest-ranked qualifier within the 2024 World Snooker Championship draw.

The Englishman certified for the Crucible three years in a row between 2014 and 2016, but it surely has taken him till now to safe a return.

Quarter 3

Judd Trump (3) vs Hossein Vafaei

Session 1: Saturday, April twentieth at 2:30pm
Session 2: Sunday, April twenty first at 2:30pm
Prediction: Judd Trump

Undoubtedly one of many ties of the primary spherical pits world quantity two Judd Trump in opposition to the full of life Hossein Vafaei.

Trump has received 5 rating titles this season, so there are lots of who’re anticipating him to waltz by means of to a possible mouthwatering semi-final in opposition to Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The 34 year-old, nonetheless, most likely would have been hoping for a kinder draw than that of Vafaei, who just isn’t afraid to combine it with the perfect the sport has to supply.

The Iranian has overwhelmed Trump a number of occasions, however their most essential showdown was received by the latter at this similar stage of the World Championship in 2022.

Trump has a repute of being a gradual starter in large occasions however, in actual fact, has solely been dumped out on the opening hurdle in Sheffield thrice in 14 appearances.

A type of was final yr in opposition to Anthony McGill, which should sharpen his focus to keep away from a repeat this time.

Tom Ford (14) vs Ricky Walden

Session 1: Saturday, April twentieth at 7pm
Session 2: Sunday, April twenty first at 7pm
Prediction: Ricky Walden

Tom Ford, on the age of 40, is a seeded participant for the primary time in what is simply his fifth Crucible look.

There shall be a special form of stress on the Englishman as he searches for a primary ever victory on the venue phases in Sheffield.

Ricky Walden sealed his look on the Crucible in 2024 with a dramatic 10-9 conquer Mark Davis on Judgement Day.

Walden, a three-time rating occasion winner, reached the World Championship semi-finals again in 2013.

This can be a very even-looking fixture on paper, and predicting the end result isn’t actually helped a lot by an even-looking head-to-head document.

With a few wins already from the qualifiers, Walden could about shade it.

Zhang Anda (11) vs Jak Jones

Session 1: Saturday, April twentieth at 10am
Session 2: Sunday, April twentieth at 10am
Prediction: Zhang Anda

Like Ford, Zhang is a seed for the primary time in his profession following an impressive marketing campaign wherein he received the Worldwide Championship.

Two different appearances in rating occasion finals imply that he has unquestionably represented one of many gamers of the whole season.

Jak Jones launched into an unlikely run to the quarter-finals on his first Crucible look final yr, and the 30 year-old is again for one more crack after beating Jamie Clarke and Zhou Yuelong within the preliminaries.

That is one other conflict that might go both method, however Zhang has been repeatedly underlining his pedigree for the big-time since final yr.

Maybe it’s now time for Mighty Mouse to step up and rise to the event on the sport’s most essential stage as effectively.

Mark Williams (6) vs Si Jiahui

Session 1: Monday, April twenty second at 2:30pm
Session 2: Tuesday, April twenty third at 2:30pm
Prediction: Si Jiahui

Mark Williams produced a barnstorming show to beat the highest three ranked gamers on this planet on the current Tour Championship.

That’s to not overlook his spellbinding clearance within the deciding body of his first-round fixture with Tom Ford.

Williams, a 49-year previous bear in mind, is coming into this World Championship hyped as one of many pre-tournament favourites once more.

However there may be the likelihood that the Welshman peaked too quickly, and that it is likely to be troublesome to copy the highs of Manchester once more right here.

Si Jiahui received’t be a simple opening problem, the younger Chinese language cueist with recollections of his mesmorising run to the semi-finals a yr in the past.

The German Masters runner-up did effectively to barter the qualifiers and safe a right away return to the Crucible, the place he’ll know that he’ll must be at his greatest to beat a legend like Williams.

Quarter 4

Ding Junhui (7) vs Jack Lisowski

Session 1: Tuesday, April twenty third at 10am
Session 2: Wednesday, April twenty fourth at 10am
Prediction: Jack Lisowski

Jack Lisowski was arguably the participant who all of the seeds would have needed to be paired with the least within the first spherical.

Ding Junhui drew the quick straw, however the Chinese language primary’s dismay is sweet information for impartial followers, as their affair guarantees to be an absolute belter.

Though he has didn’t return to the winners’ enclosure, Ding has had a good season and is a member of the highest eight within the rankings once more.

Lisowski has gone the opposite method and missed out on an computerized seeding by simply £6,500, however he did look sharp whereas rising from the qualifiers.

Ding went all the best way to the ultimate when he suffered the same destiny in 2016, and with Peter Ebdon reportedly not in Lisowski’s nook any extra, it’s potential Jackpot might return to his previous swashbuckling self.

The top-to-head would point out a simple victory for Ding, who boasts an combination body rating of 15-3 from three prior conferences.

However along with his confidence larger following the qualifiers, Lisowski could possibly be a darkish horse on this occasion.

Gary Wilson (10) vs Stuart Bingham

Session 1: Monday, April twenty second at 10am
Session 2: Monday, April twenty second at 7pm
Prediction: Gary Wilson

Gary Wilson is coming into this World Championship as an much more credible darkish horse to go all the best way and carry the well-known trophy aloft.

Already a two-time rating occasion winner this season, he additionally reached the semi-finals of the current Tour Championship the place he was narrowly overwhelmed by Ronnie O’Sullivan.

As a former world champion, Stuart Bingham appears like a troublesome draw at first look.

However in actuality, Ballrun has been off form for a very long time and has significantly struggled along with his eyesight – the worst ailment for a snooker participant to have.

Bingham clearly has the pedigree to show it on within the large moments, however Wilson has been by far the extra constant lately and ought to be thought of the favorite to progress.

Barry Hawkins (15) vs Ryan Day

Session 1: Tuesday, April twenty third at 7pm
Session 2: Wednesday, April twenty fourth at 7pm
Prediction: Ryan Day

A battle of the four-time rating occasion winners sees Barry Hawkins entertain Ryan Day.

Former finalist Hawkins returns to the Crucible after lacking final yr’s version by means of a painful defeat within the qualifiers.

Day scrambled previous Scott Donaldson 10-9 on Judgement Day and can make his fifteenth look on the venue phases.

The Welshman hasn’t received a match on the Crucible since 2014, shedding 5 occasions on the opening hurdle since then.

There’s no questioning the truth that Hawkins enjoys the much better document in Sheffield, however Day has the slight edge of their head-to-head.

Two skilled campaigners point out that this could possibly be an in depth one, presumably even 10-9 both method.

Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) vs Jackson Web page

Session 1: Wednesday, April twenty fourth at 2:30pm
Session 2: Thursday, April twenty fifth at 1pm
Prediction: Ronnie O’Sullivan

Ronnie O’Sullivan is again for a second crack at profitable an eight world title, which might take his tally past Stephen Hendry to develop into probably the most prolific champion of the trendy period.

Prolific is the phrase to make use of for his 2023/24 marketing campaign to date, with the Rocket hardly shedding a sport and romping to 5 titles since final September.

That has included victories on the UK Championship and the Masters, making certain that the single-season Triple Crown is inside his grasp.

Jackson Web page is a fearless competitor who shocked Barry Hawkins on his debut within the competitors two years in the past.

However in that very same yr he was humbled 13-3 by Mark Williams within the second spherical, and he might discover it simply as troublesome in opposition to one other Class of ’92 legend right here.

O’Sullivan might wish to recommend in any other case, however profitable one other world title and breaking Hendry’s document, somewhat than simply matching it, would imply every part.

Remaining Verdict

There are various who’re already dreaming of a mouthwatering semi-final between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump within the backside section.

The shape e book typically goes out the window in Sheffield, however this time I feel the followers will get what they’re yearning for.

The highest half of the draw seems to function fewer gamers who’re truly in type this season, maybe pointing to a semi-final conflict between Ali Carter and Mark Allen.

Solely time will inform. The magic of the Crucible awaits.

Prediction: Judd Trump to beat Mark Allen within the last

2024 World Snooker Championship Draw

Click on right here for reside scores and session occasions.

Spherical 1 (bo19)

Luca Brecel (1) vs David Gilbert
Robert Milkins (16) vs Pang Junxu
Ali Carter (9) vs Stephen Maguire
Shaun Murphy (8) vs Lyu Haotian

Mark Selby (5) vs Joe O’Connor
Kyren Wilson (12) vs Dominic Dale
John Higgins (13) vs Jamie Jones
Mark Allen (4) vs Robbie Williams

Judd Trump (3) vs Hossein Vafaei
Tom Ford (14) vs Ricky Walden
Zhang Anda (11) vs Jak Jones
Mark Williams (6) vs Si Jiahui

Ding Junhui (7) vs Jack Lisowski
Gary Wilson (10) vs Stuart Bingham
Barry Hawkins (15) vs Ryan Day
Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) vs Jackson Web page

Spherical 2 (bo25)

Brecel/Gilbert vs Milkins/Pang
Carter/Maguire vs Murphy/Lyu

Selby/O’Connor vs Okay. Wilson/Dale
Higgins/Jamie Jones vs Allen/R. Williams

Trump/Vafaei vs Ford/Walden
Zhang/Jak Jones vs M. Williams/Si

Ding/Lisowski vs G. Wilson/Bingham
Hawkins/Day vs O’Sullivan/Web page

Quarter-Finals (bo25)


Semi-Finals (bo33)


Remaining (bo35)


Featured picture credit score: WST

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