The 10's: Who will be the main men?
Neil Robertson: What Robertson has in abundance is confidence in his own ability. He has played in six ranking finals and is yet to lose any. What does that tell us? Well, draw your own conclusions, but seeing as the only other men who have achieved this are Steve Davis & Mark Williams, it can only point to good things.
Robertson is a marvellous potter, and this has assisted his slightly wayward positional play. He actually topped the centuries list last year, which probably gives us an idea of just how good he is in this department. I would be stunned if Robertson doesn't take another World Title, and three for the decade is not beyond the realms of possibility. With one claimed already, he has had the most annoying of monkeys lifted off his back
Ding Junhui: He hasn't covered himself in glory over the last few days, but Ding is a wonderful snooker player. I was lucky enough to watch him take out Ronnie O'Sullivan in a superb Northern Ireland Trophy final back in 2006, and from then on I've been convinced he'd take the Joe Davis Trophy, and more than once.
He has recovered well from his debacle at Wembley, and I honestly don't think confidence is a huge problem for him anymore. It's like this: if Ding hits form, he is generally good enough to win whatever tournament and beat whichever player he is faced off against. If he hits form at the Crucible, you can forget about mental blocks. They will fall, and Ding will be champion. Sounds easy, doesn't it :P
Mark Selby: A man who frustrates. He is good enough, he can thwart the very best, but is just as likely to slip up against men he is well capable of putting away well. Thus just four titles to his name, and only one full-on ranking title.
Selby boasts a superb creative safety game, which is why I actually enjoy watching him play. His shotmaking is the best in the game, and his bottle is generally very strong too. He is good enough to reach the summit, and I think he will get there... but expect a very tough route.
Shaun Murphy: We know how good he is, but his inconsistency is remarkable.
Can Murphy scale the heights of 2005 again? Yes. But he's got a long way to go
Ali Carter: Make no mistake, he is good. You don't reach second in the World Rankings if you're a mug, and Carter is an example of great consistency.
Mentally, he has improved, but I still think he lacks that bit required to be the very best on the Planet.
Mark Allen: Tough as steel, Allen can beat anyone, and, more importantly, believes he can do so.
Allen falls into the category of players who are capable of winning the World Championship, but will have to push themselves to their limit in order to do so. I think he's up for the challenge...
Liang Wenbo: I can't see him winning a World Title, but he can certainly threaten, and should win a few rankers.
Wenbo is a nice little player, always does things in the right spirit and is incredibly attacking. Too much of each to really become a top, top player.
Jamie Cope: Well, where do we begin? Just as likely to put in a shocker as he is to blow players away.
At this point in time, I wouldn't fancy Cope to win a World Championship, and I think he will become something of an underacheiver, considering his undoubted ability. He has plenty time to prove me wrong though, and ranking titles should come his way.
Judd Trump: Yes, he has disappointed so far, and reminds me a lot of Matthew Stevens. Is he commited enough? Does he have enough bottle? Time will tell.
One semi-final at this stage is a disappointment, but a PTC win will do him no harm, and seeing as I love to watch him play (he reminds me of O'Sullivan in the way he flicks the cueball around with such natural style), I would like to see him do very well.
Ronnie O'Sullivan: The best player of the noughties is on the downward curve, but if he hits form he is still capable of outshining every single player on tour.
The problem is, like all greats, the time comes where this level can be seen with expanding rarity. Is he good enough to win a fourth world title? Of course. Does he have the drive to do so? Possibly not...
John Higgins: The man has been a wonderful player, nobody can take that away from him.
How have his recent troubles affected him? A fourth World Title is unlikely as far as I'm concerned, but I'm not going to write him off. Mentally, he is a fortress.
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