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The Main Contenders

Postby Snooker Overdrive

The 2014 World Championship is only a few weeks away and with all the seeds assigned to their places in the draw, it's time to talk about the main contenders for this year's edition of snooker's greatest showpiece event.

This is what I'm going to do: I'll rank all the seeds from least likely to most likely to win the World Title and analyze their individual chances of winning snooker's biggest prize.


16: Mark Davis (Seeded No. 13)

He's not playing quite as well as he was the previous season and he's not beating the top players regularly anymore. He just might cause a shock result like last year but overall no chance of winning the title.


15: Joe Perry (Seeded No. 16)

Joe is having a good season and he's playing very well again, making the semi finals of the Welsh Open and International Championship. But something is lacking, if he runs into a top player playing really well, Perry just can't keep up. He has a tough draw and never won a ranking event, so overall no chance of winning the title.


14: Ricky Walden (Seeded No. 12)

Walden got so close to reaching the final last year. He made the UK semis and he could have a couple of decent results at the Crucible again this year. But it will be tough for him to reproduce the sort of form from last year, he will have high expectations and pressure to do well again. A first round defeat wouldn't shock me, we have seen it so many times before. No chance of winning the title.


13: Stephen Maguire (Seeded No. 10)

He made two semis this season, Indian Open and the Masters but overall his season is far from convincing. Maguire is still capable of pulling out a great performance every once in a while but he's not very consistent anymore and his temperament is terrible. Stephen also is placed in the "quarter of death". Very slim chance of winning the title.


12: Mark Allen (Seeded No. 16)

Mark won 2 PTC finals this season and made the semis in the World Open but besides that he's had a season to forget. We all know what Allen can do and he's fearless but overall he's not the player he was 2 or 3 years ago. He's also not in great physical shape, fitness is so important in this snooker marathon. Also in the "quarter of death", he only has a very slim chance of winning the title.


11: John Higgins (Seeded No. 11)

John made the quarter finals of the last 3 ranking events. He's finding some form again, he's not missing sitters anymore. Higgins wins the matches he should win again and also plays terrific against Trump. But he's not invincible in pressure situations anymore and his safety game let's him down often these days. That's just not enough to win the big one, although I can see him making the quarter finals. Slim chance of winning the title.


10: Marco Fu (Seeded No. 8)

Marco is having the best season of his career. He won a ranking title and got so close to winning the IC as well. When he's on fire, Fu can beat anyone. But he has no consistency and in these long formats, one bad session can cost you the title. Also Marco has a tough draw with Murphy waiting (who basically owns him) in the last 16 and possibly Ronnie in the quarters. A great player no doubt but only a slim chance of winning the title.


9: Ali Carter (Seeded No. 14)

Carter isn't having a good season at all. He has failed to make a ranking quarter final this season. But Ali has an incredible record at the Crucible, most of them coming out of nowhere. He loves playing here, raises his game and knows how to reach the latter stages. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw yet another great run from the Captain this year, Selby will be facing a tough test in the last 16. That's why Carter is so high on this list despite showing nothing all season, he has a chance of winning the title.


8: Stuart Bingham (Seeded No. 6)

Bingham played some superb snooker to reach the Champion of Champions final and made that unbelievable comeback against Robertson in the UK semi. Unfortunately he's gone off the boil a bit in 2014. He has the game to beat anyone and he has a decent draw. Although not likely but he has a chance of winning the title.


7: Mark Selby (Seeded No. 3)

This choice might surprise some people, but after careful considerations I see 6 other players with better chances of winning title. Mark Selby is snooker's best competitor but his game just isn't there. His scoring isn't sufficient at the moment, actually it hasn't been for some time now. That he still makes finals shows what a great match player he is but in this snooker marathon he can't scrap it out, he just can't. Also he looked very drained in the PTCs finals and because he decided to go to China instead of resting, I can't see his chances going up. Nonetheless he has a chance of winning the title.


6: Shaun Murphy (Seeded No. 9)

Up until the end of 2013, I didn't think Shaun could win the big one again. But it all turned around in 2014, he won a ranking event beating top players and now he has got his confidence back. He's scoring very heavily again and that makes Murphy a threat to anyone. Shaun knows how to win the title, something only few of the other contenders can say. If he can somehow make the semis, he'll have a great chance but he's in Ronnie's quarter. I think Shaun Murphy has a decent chance of winning the title.


5: Judd Trump (Seeded No. 7)

He made the final in Germany and there are signs that he's returning to form. Judd loves big tournaments and he usually raises his game there. His safety improved over the last couple of seasons and he's scoring heavily despite some easy misses every now and then. Trump has great self believe and confidence, he'll be a tough match for anyone. Also placed in the "quarter of death", I can see him making the final if he gets through that. But Trump hasn't won a big title since the 2012 IC and his season start was poor, so I won't put him higher than 5. Has a decent chance of winning the title.


4: Barry Hawkins (Seeded No. 5)

The Hawk is the complete package now. Heavy scoring, great safety game, good long potting and very good composure. He won a big title just yesterday, which will give him a massive boost. He believes in himself and can beat any top player like he showed last year. He has a reasonable draw this year and the only thing going against him is that beaten finalists usually go out early the following year. Barry has a decent chance of winning the title.


3: Neil Robertson (Seeded No. 2)

After the UK win, I rated his chances even higher but he was a bit flat in 2014 so far. At his best he's an incredible player, his long potting is deadly, he wins all the frames he should and his temperament is superb. Maybe the only player who can beat Ronnie O'Sullivan over 33 or 35 frames. The question will be: can he play like he did in the UK? Even though he's seeded No. 2 Robbo has a tough draw and needs be sharp right from the start. Neil has a good chance of winning the title.


2: Ding Junhui (Seeded No. 4)

Ding Junhui won 4 ranking events this season. At his best he's brilliant, he always was but this season he also has the consistency. That makes him a multiple winner of ranking events. But unlike Robertson he's under huge pressure to finally win the big one. Ding doesn't have a weakness besides having a mental block against Ronnie. Should Ronnie crash out, he'll be favourite for the title for sure. Overall he has a good chance of winning the title.


1: Ronnie O'Sullivan (Seeded No. 1)

The defending champion was sublime so far in 2014. Without the shadow of a doubt, THE man to beat. Ronnie is the best player in the World right now and he hasn't lost a match at Crucible for 2 years now. His confidence is sky high and he's mentally stronger than ever. He has all the experience, Ronnie knows exactly how to win the title and how to pace himself. The longer matches will suit his consistency. Ronnie doesn't have a weakness and it will take an unbelievable performance to stop him this year, I feel. To have the chance to equal Steve Davis's 6 World Titles will spur him on even more. Ronnie O'Sullivan has a great chance of winning the title.
Last edited by Snooker Overdrive on 07 Apr 2014, edited 3 times in total.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Andre147

A great great analysis SO, couldn't have said it better myself :hatoff:

I would only switch 2nd for 3rd place as I think Robbo has a better chance of winning the title than Ding despite not having good results since the UK Champs he won. He has a better record than Ding at the Crucible, his consistency in the long frame format at the Crucible is better than Ding's and I think that first round defeat last year will spur Robbo even more to have a great run this season at Sheffield. Whereas Ding, with the brilliant season he's had so far, I fear he may not have a great Worlds like some are expecting.

So in short Robbo in 2nd and Ding in 3rd.

And after having a closer look I would put Fu in 8th place, Bingo on 9th and Carter on 10th.

And Selby's position there at least in my view doesn't surprise me and you were spot in his analysis, he needs to find some of that scoring power that saw him get his best results there in 2007, 2009 and 2010, he can scrap things out BUT if he isn't most frames in 1 visit, I fear he will be drained and with nothing left in the tank.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Wildey

With Respect to Barry Hawkins he has no hope in Hell of being World Champion this year Ronnie is just too Strong it will take someone with a far greater Mental resolve to beat Ronnie.

1 Ronnie O'Sullivan
2 Neil Robertson
3 Mark Selby
4 Ding Junhui
5 Shaun Murphy
6 Judd Trump
7 Bar= No Hopers

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby vodkadiet

1 Murphy
2 Higgins
3 O'Sullivan
4 Selby



16 Walden

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby GJ

Tend to agree with wild on hawkins and the alot of times a first time finalist loses early the next year due to added expectation put on by themselves .

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Blavdes

Fantastic write up SO!

Personally I feel the top 3 is Ron, Robbo and Murphy, but do people really see Higgins as that far out? He's shown recently some great play and we all know his match play can take him far so for me I'd have him in the top 7 with Wildey's list.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Andy Spark

Snooker Overdrive wrote::phew: That took a long time to write

What do you guys think?

haha...great stuff. <ok>

But I do think Ronnie does have a slight weakness, his age. It's weird that two years ago I was the one trying to convince you lot that Ronnie was better than you thought he was. Now it seems like I need to do the opposite.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby vodkadiet

I can see Murphy winning this year. I think he has taken expectancy off of himself after saying at The Masters he was prepared to quit snooker. He seems to be playing with an added zest and will be tough to beat.

Walden and Davis will be the players the qualifiers want to play.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby masterdoctorgenius

Andy Spark wrote:
Snooker Overdrive wrote::phew: That took a long time to write

What do you guys think?

haha...great stuff. <ok>

But I do think Ronnie does have a slight weakness, his age. It's weird that two years ago I was the one trying to convince you lot that Ronnie was better than you thought he was. Now it seems like I need to do the opposite.


age? he has only gotten better with age resultwise. looking at his major triumphs

2012: German Masters, WC
2013: WC, CoC
2014: Masters, Welsh

there were time where he hadnt won something for32 months or so till he won the UK champ in 2007. The reason behind his success is without a doubt Steve Peters. He owns it to him big time.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby vodkadiet

I can see about half the seeds losing in the first round this year. The close proximity of the qualifiers to the main draw matches lends itself advantageously to this theory.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Snooker Overdrive

Wildey wrote:With Respect to Barry Hawkins he has no hope in Hell of being World Champion this year Ronnie is just too Strong it will take someone with a far greater Mental resolve to beat Ronnie.

1 Ronnie O'Sullivan
2 Neil Robertson
3 Mark Selby
4 Ding Junhui
5 Shaun Murphy
6 Judd Trump
7 Bar= No Hopers


I think you're underestimating Barry Hawkins. I would say he showed incredible mental resolve last year. Selby had him in the last 16 but he hung in there, won a key frame on the black and then pulled away. Barry denied Ding in the quarters and dug deep against Walden. He pushed Ronnie extremely hard, Hawkins even made a mini comeback in the final and made it very uncomfortable for O'Sullivan.

Also I think it's a bit funny that you say Hawkins doesn't have the mental resolve to beat Ronnie but Ding who collapsed against O'Sullivan in the Welsh final has a much better chance...

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Snooker Overdrive

Andy Spark wrote:
Snooker Overdrive wrote::phew: That took a long time to write

What do you guys think?

haha...great stuff. <ok>

But I do think Ronnie does have a slight weakness, his age. It's weird that two years ago I was the one trying to convince you lot that Ronnie was better than you thought he was. Now it seems like I need to do the opposite.


Age is not a weakness. The physical decline that comes with age is. But every part of his game (including long potting) is in great shape and so is his fitness and health.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Andre147

vodkadiet wrote:1 Murphy
2 Higgins
3 O'Sullivan
4 Selby



16 Walden


Higgins on 2nd rofl rofl rofl :wave:

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Wildey

Snooker Overdrive wrote:
Wildey wrote:With Respect to Barry Hawkins he has no hope in Hell of being World Champion this year Ronnie is just too Strong it will take someone with a far greater Mental resolve to beat Ronnie.

1 Ronnie O'Sullivan
2 Neil Robertson
3 Mark Selby
4 Ding Junhui
5 Shaun Murphy
6 Judd Trump
7 Bar= No Hopers


I think you're underestimating Barry Hawkins. I would say he showed incredible mental resolve last year. Selby had him in the last 16 but he hung in there, won a key frame on the black and then pulled away. Barry denied Ding in the quarters and dug deep against Walden. He pushed Ronnie extremely hard, Hawkins even made a mini comeback in the final and made it very uncomfortable for O'Sullivan.

Also I think it's a bit funny that you say Hawkins doesn't have the mental resolve to beat Ronnie but Ding who collapsed against O'Sullivan in the Welsh final has a much better chance...

Thats why i place Ding below where you placed him but hes still more capable than Hawkins to play to a higher level but Robertson and Selby has the best chance to beat Ronnie but Selby has to start scoring heavier if he does that then its a 3 horse Race almost with 3 players outside chance. the rest are making up the numbers untill Ronnie gets knocked out and then things could open up.....but at the moment its all about who has the capability of stopping Ronnie and most not a cat in hells chance.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Andy Spark

Snooker Overdrive wrote:
Andy Spark wrote:
Snooker Overdrive wrote::phew: That took a long time to write

What do you guys think?

haha...great stuff. <ok>

But I do think Ronnie does have a slight weakness, his age. It's weird that two years ago I was the one trying to convince you lot that Ronnie was better than you thought he was. Now it seems like I need to do the opposite.


Age is not a weakness. The physical decline that comes with age is. But every part of his game (including long potting) is in great shape and so is his fitness and health.

Fair point, I was just thinking that maybe his age is a factor in the sense that we are more likely to witness the beginnings of that physical decline at this point in his career. No snooker player has won the world Championship at an older age than Ronnie is now since 1978. Ronnie is exceptional, but every man must yield to age eventually. I don't know really, it's just that if I was backing him that's something I'd take account of.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Snooker Overdrive

Wildey wrote:
Snooker Overdrive wrote:
Wildey wrote:With Respect to Barry Hawkins he has no hope in Hell of being World Champion this year Ronnie is just too Strong it will take someone with a far greater Mental resolve to beat Ronnie.

1 Ronnie O'Sullivan
2 Neil Robertson
3 Mark Selby
4 Ding Junhui
5 Shaun Murphy
6 Judd Trump
7 Bar= No Hopers


I think you're underestimating Barry Hawkins. I would say he showed incredible mental resolve last year. Selby had him in the last 16 but he hung in there, won a key frame on the black and then pulled away. Barry denied Ding in the quarters and dug deep against Walden. He pushed Ronnie extremely hard, Hawkins even made a mini comeback in the final and made it very uncomfortable for O'Sullivan.

Also I think it's a bit funny that you say Hawkins doesn't have the mental resolve to beat Ronnie but Ding who collapsed against O'Sullivan in the Welsh final has a much better chance...

Thats why i place Ding below where you placed him but hes still more capable than Hawkins to play to a higher level but Robertson and Selby has the best chance to beat Ronnie but Selby has to start scoring heavier if he does that then its a 3 horse Race almost with 3 players outside chance. the rest are making up the numbers untill Ronnie gets knocked out and then things could open up.....but at the moment its all about who has the capability of stopping Ronnie and most not a cat in hells chance.


I get your point now but I don't think I agree. Of course mental strength is extremely important but if Selby and Robertson don't improve their current standard they won't even get out of their quarters. OK I can see Robertson doing that but I just can't see it happening with Selby. And if mental resolve is the most important factor we have to put Peter Ebdon on that list as well...

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Snooker Overdrive

Andre147 PGC wrote:
vodkadiet wrote:1 Murphy
2 Higgins
3 O'Sullivan
4 Selby



16 Walden


Higgins on 2nd rofl rofl rofl :wave:


Did you notice he didn't mention Robertson? I think he's still furious Robbo let that 5-3 lead slip against Ronnie in 2012. He says Robbo bottled that match :-D

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Andre147

Snooker Overdrive wrote:
Wildey wrote:
Snooker Overdrive wrote:
Wildey wrote:With Respect to Barry Hawkins he has no hope in Hell of being World Champion this year Ronnie is just too Strong it will take someone with a far greater Mental resolve to beat Ronnie.

1 Ronnie O'Sullivan
2 Neil Robertson
3 Mark Selby
4 Ding Junhui
5 Shaun Murphy
6 Judd Trump
7 Bar= No Hopers


I think you're underestimating Barry Hawkins. I would say he showed incredible mental resolve last year. Selby had him in the last 16 but he hung in there, won a key frame on the black and then pulled away. Barry denied Ding in the quarters and dug deep against Walden. He pushed Ronnie extremely hard, Hawkins even made a mini comeback in the final and made it very uncomfortable for O'Sullivan.

Also I think it's a bit funny that you say Hawkins doesn't have the mental resolve to beat Ronnie but Ding who collapsed against O'Sullivan in the Welsh final has a much better chance...

Thats why i place Ding below where you placed him but hes still more capable than Hawkins to play to a higher level but Robertson and Selby has the best chance to beat Ronnie but Selby has to start scoring heavier if he does that then its a 3 horse Race almost with 3 players outside chance. the rest are making up the numbers untill Ronnie gets knocked out and then things could open up.....but at the moment its all about who has the capability of stopping Ronnie and most not a cat in hells chance.


I get your point now but I don't think I agree. Of course mental strength is extremely important but if Selby and Robertson don't improve their current standard they won't even get out of their quarters. OK I can see Robertson doing that but I just can't see it happening with Selby. And if mental resolve is the most important factor we have to put Peter Ebdon on that list as well...


I won't say "not a chance" Selby reaching the quarters the way he's been playing recently, but win the tournament? Not a chance if he's going to scrap his way through, he has to find his scoring boots fast. But yeah I agree with you, of course Ronnie is bound to at some point start the inevitable decline but he's an exceptional player and with Ronnie a large part of his game is in his own mind, and right now he's in the best place possible with the help he's had from Steve Peters, and not unlike in the past when sometimes his worst enemy was him really.

In recent times he has proved that when he's beaten it's purely because his opponent played the better snooker and Ronnie despite giving his all just wasnt the better player on the day. We saw that at the UK Champs this season against Bingo, as well as in the IC against Wenbo and the PTC Grand Finals against Delu to name a few.

If he's gonna lose at this year's Worlds it will be because his opponent played inspired snooker and wasn't "scared" of the occasion and the fact he was playing Ronnie, and if players want to beat him they have to bring that attitude to the table.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby vodkadiet

Snooker Overdrive wrote:
Andre147 PGC wrote:
vodkadiet wrote:1 Murphy
2 Higgins
3 O'Sullivan
4 Selby



16 Walden


Higgins on 2nd rofl rofl rofl :wave:


Did you notice he didn't mention Robertson? I think he's still furious Robbo let that 5-3 lead slip against Ronnie in 2012. He says Robbo bottled that match :-D


I would have Robertson in 6th place

5 Fu
6 Robertson
7 Hawkins
8 Bingham
9 Perry
10 Ding
11 Maguire
12 Carter
13 Trump
14 Allen
15 Davis


16 Walden (aka Rodney Trotter)

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Snooker Overdrive

vodkadiet wrote:
Snooker Overdrive wrote:
Andre147 PGC wrote:
vodkadiet wrote:1 Murphy
2 Higgins
3 O'Sullivan
4 Selby



16 Walden


Higgins on 2nd rofl rofl rofl :wave:


Did you notice he didn't mention Robertson? I think he's still furious Robbo let that 5-3 lead slip against Ronnie in 2012. He says Robbo bottled that match :-D


I would have Robertson in 6th place

5 Fu
6 Robertson
7 Hawkins
8 Bingham
9 Perry
10 Ding
11 Maguire
12 Carter
13 Trump
14 Allen
15 Davis


16 Walden (aka Rodney Trotter)


What's your problem with Walden? <laugh>

You know Murphy has never beaten Ronnie in a ranking event? Because your ranking seems to be influenced by the amount of wins a player has over O'Sullivan...

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Skullman

Wildey wrote:With Respect to Barry Hawkins he has no hope in Hell of being World Champion this year Ronnie is just too Strong it will take someone with a far greater Mental resolve to beat Ronnie.


Hawkins doesn't have to knock out Ronnie to win. Personally I think if someone does beat Ronnie in Sheffield, they won't go onto win the event and will probably get knocked out soon after (unless ROS loses in the final of course)

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Skullman

Anyway, I mostly agree with what you've SO. Like others, I'd have Robbo ahead of Ding. While I think Carter is underrated, I don't think he should be above Fu or Higgins, despite being a Crucible specialist. I also think Bingo is too high up based on recent form.

And while I agree with the general placings area of Hawkins, Judd and Smurph, I think Smurph's experience of winning the event before should just edge him ahead. Plus he's one of the few players who I think is mentally up for facing Ronnie. Whether or not you think he can beat him,he thinks he can.

As for a dark horse, I'd say keep an eye on Dott. Depending on who he gets in the draw, he could be very dangerous. I'd certainly fancy him taking the title more than Walden, Mavis, Mags or Perry.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby vodkadiet

Snooker Overdrive wrote:
vodkadiet wrote:
Snooker Overdrive wrote:
Andre147 PGC wrote:
vodkadiet wrote:1 Murphy
2 Higgins
3 O'Sullivan
4 Selby



16 Walden


Higgins on 2nd rofl rofl rofl :wave:


Did you notice he didn't mention Robertson? I think he's still furious Robbo let that 5-3 lead slip against Ronnie in 2012. He says Robbo bottled that match :-D


I would have Robertson in 6th place

5 Fu
6 Robertson
7 Hawkins
8 Bingham
9 Perry
10 Ding
11 Maguire
12 Carter
13 Trump
14 Allen
15 Davis


16 Walden (aka Rodney Trotter)


What's your problem with Walden? <laugh>

You know Murphy has never beaten Ronnie in a ranking event? Because your ranking seems to be influenced by the amount of wins a player has over O'Sullivan...


Walden is awful.

Murphy is revitalised. He hasn't played O'Sullivan very much anyway.

If my ranking was based on wins over Rigsby then I would have had Allen and Trump much higher up the list.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby SnookerFan

I can't look past Ronnie. He seems to be more consistently up for the fight than he was a few years back. And he'll want that three in a row.

He's not unbeatable, but I think it'll take flawless snooker from his opponent to beat him. Over the longer frame games, that's next to impossible.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Wildey

Well Neil Robertson got from 7th of April until 2.30pm on 23rd of April to get himself ready and flu free for his World Championship challenge that's best part of 16 days.

if hes a true challenger that's plenty of time.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby GJ

Agree wild , im happy with the schedule.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Snooker Overdrive

Wild, you still think Selby is a main contender?

Because his China Open performance confirms to me that it was the right choice to not put him higher than No. 7 on my list.
Last edited by Snooker Overdrive on 04 Apr 2014, edited 1 time in total.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby GJ

SO

Its a tricky 1 though because some say a player loses in china its good but if they win china open its bad.

So hard to read to much in to this week.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Skullman

It's not like China's a blip in an otherwise good season. He's been crap all season, with the exception of a couple of matches and he's been getting by on grit alone this season. A confidence boost was much needed and losing Dunn wasn't it.

Plus you have Higgins in 2009 and Judd in 2011, who both reached the China Open final, then went on to win and become runner up in the Worlds respectively.