Post a reply

The Main Contenders

Postby Snooker Overdrive

Everybody involved in the snooker world is probably already thinking about the 2015 World Championship. Just like the years before this thread is the place to talk about the favourites for the big one.

This year we have to wait a while longer than usually for the seeding list to be determined. Nevertheless I'll try my best to already assess the chances of the current TOP 20 and rank them in order from least to most likely to win this year's World Championship.


20: Robert Milkins (currently ranked No. 18)

I won't spend too much time on players like Rob here. He doesn't have what to takes to win the World Title, it's as simple as that. He'll do well if he reaches the last 16.


19: Ali Carter (seeded No. 13)

Ali made a terrific recovery from cancer and battled his way back to professional snooker. However currently he's nowhere good enough to be seeded for the Crucible. He surely is the weak link in the seeding list and all the qualifiers will want to draw him. He would be down to No. 30 at the moment if his ranking hadn't been frozen. I know what World Snooker try to do but I don't think it's working and I think Ali would be better off playing a couple of easier qualifying matches than running into an in form qualifier at the Crucible. He's unlikely to get to the last 16.


18: Mark Davis (currently ranked No. 20)

Mark is a solid and consistent player who can cause an upset on a good day. John Higgins surely wants to avoid drawing him for example. Obviously he won't be winning the title but he could go as far as the quarters with a good draw.


17: Graeme Dott (currently ranked No. 19)

Graeme's not the force he once was and he won't win the title but I would never rule out a good run at the Crucible. All depends on the draw but he's capable of causing an upset in first or the second round for sure.


16: Barry Hawkins (currently ranked No. 5)

Barry is having a horrible season, there's no other way of saying it. He's a fine player at his best and has had superb runs at the Crucible the last 2 years. The chances of repeating these heroics however are very very slim. Right now he'll do well to survive his opening match.


15: Joe Perry (currently ranked No. 14)

Joe is an established top 16 player these days who can give anyone a match. He nearly won his first ranking title this season but it wasn't meant to be. I think he could make the quarter finals beating a top player on the way. The title however undoubtedly will be too much to ask for the Gentleman.


14: Marco Fu (currently ranked No. 10)

Every year when I start talking about Marco's Crucible chances I basically say the same thing: he's a superb player on his day who can beat the tournament favourite but over the course of 17 days he doesn't have what it takes. That always has been his problem and unfortunately I don't see a reason why it would be any different this year. But he can make the quarters no doubt.


13: Mark Williams (currently ranked No. 15)

Mark is in terrific form at the moment and is getting to the latter stages of tournaments. However he can't quite manage to convert his good snooker to titles. He missed golden chances in the Welsh Open and Indian Open. Mark is unlikely to win the World Title but he could have his first good run since he made the semi finals in 2011.


12: John Higgins (currently ranked No. 12)

John is a ranking event winner again. But despite that he's not playing particularly well. He lost the last 2 years in the first round. But I doubt that will happen again this year and a quarter final is definitely possible. A lot depends on the draw. But just like the players mentioned before he's not likely to win the title, his game just isn't consistent enough anymore.


11: Michael White (currently ranked No. 17)

The Indian Open might have been his big breakthrough. Michael White is the first youngster since Judd Trump to win a ranking event. However many top player were absent and the format wasn't really worthy of a full ranking event. Still I consider him a bit of a dark horse for the title. He's got the talent and now he got the confidence. He could go very far under the right circumstances.


10: Ricky Walden (currently ranked No. 7)

Ricky Walden won the International Championship and is on top of this season's ranking money list. Why is he only No. 10 on my list? Two reasons. All his success has come abroad and he's only half the player in UK events I'm afraid. Also his B and C-game is very bad, sometimes even borderline ridiculous. Like in the Welsh Open quarters against Luca Brecel. Ricky is a great player and could make the quarters but winning the title? Not likely.


9: Stephen Maguire (currently ranked No. 16)

Stephen is having a good season. Ironically this is also the season where he's in the most danger of having to qualify for the Crucible since establishing himself as a top 16 player. Maguire worked on his temperament and he started to get good results again. He will be a tough opponent this year but I don't think it will be enough to win the title. He could make the semis if he finds his top form.


8: Mark Allen (currently ranked No. 11)

Always a dangerous player for the top players. But never quite made the next step and became one. Mark had a superb start to the season but he lost his two ranking finals and he never really recovered from that so far. Still if he hits top form he'll cause big problems. Could make the semis under the right circumstances.


7: Stuart Bingham (currently ranked No. 9)

Stuart is a ranking event winner this season, brilliant at his best and well capable of beating top players. But you never quite know what you're gonna get with him. While I don't think he'll win the title, Bingham should not be underestimated by anyone. A semi final is well in realm of possibility.


6: Ding Junhui (currently ranked No. 4)

Ding is having his worst season since probably turning professional. He seems to have a mental block when playing at the Crucible. So what is Ding doing here this high up the list? My argument is Mark Selby last year. Mark never looked like winning the World Title after losing to Mike Dunn at the China Open. Something clicked after that. The same thing can happen with Ding Junhui. He hasn't lost his ability and talent. He's just in a bad place mentally and playing at the Crucible with no expectations could be exactly the thing he needs. Could lose in the first round or win the title. Anything is possible.


5: Shaun Murphy (currently ranked No. 8)

Now it's getting interesting. All the players from now on are the ones I consider the main contenders. And Shaun Murphy is the first one on that list. What he did at the Masters this year was unthinkable last year. He was the first player to ever beat Selby in a decider there and played like a god from there on. He destroyed and humiliated Neil Robertson in the final. I consider it his best win of his career. He also made the final in Germany but he gone off the boil slightly since then. Still if he brings his Masters form to the Crucible it's looking ominous for the other top players. Shaun Murphy is one of the favourites for the title.


4: Ronnie O'Sullivan (currently ranked No. 2)

What happened to Ronnie after the German Masters? In his performances since then he looked like pre Peters Ronnie. He's not in the right frame of mind at the moment. Hopefully he'll sort it out till the start of World Championship because the current Ronnie is unlikely to win the title. But even the Ronnie from last week is one of the favourites. It will suit him to not be the overwhelming favourite this year. He'll be very hard to beat, he always is at the Crucible. I'm not quite sure what will happen but it's going to be very interesting.


3: Mark Selby (seeded No. 1)

Up until the German Masters Mark had a poor season. But he improved his game there and he's looking dangerous again. However there's this little thing called the "Crucible curse" he has to deal with. Selby doesn't like being the favourite and playing as defending champion at the Crucible is something entirely different than winning it the first time. But Selby is tough and will try is hardest. He's got to be one of the main contenders regardless of the "curse". Does that mean I think he'll succeed? No but objectively he's got to be this high up the list. I can see him make the final.


2: Neil Robertson (currently ranked No. 3)

Neil isn't having the greatest season by his standards. But that doesn't have to be a disadvantage. Probably it's an advantage. He has - without a doubt - the game to win the title again. I think it will take an inspired performance to stop him. I wouldn't be surprised to see Robbo play Selby again this year but this time in the final. If that were to happen I'm pretty sure Neil would get his revenge. Maybe only one player can stop him and he's listed as my top favourite this year.


1: Judd Trump (currently ranked No. 6)

Judd is my pick for the 2015 World Championship. He matured a lot this season, especially with his safety game. It's very good now. Judd doesn't fear anyone and now has also beaten Ronnie in a final. At the moment I think his game is the best all-round. Judd doesn't have a weakness anymore. He looked like he would take off after that tremendous comeback in the UK and I have a feeling it will truly happen at the Crucible.


*Update: the official seeding list*

Selby (1) v Maguire (16)
Perry (9) v Murphy (8)
Hawkins (5) v Allen (12)
Carter (13) v Robertson (4)
-----------------------------------------
Ding (3) v Higgins (14)
Fu (11) v Trump (6)
Walden (7) v Bingham (10)
Williams (15) v O'Sullivan (2)
Last edited by Snooker Overdrive on 03 Apr 2015, edited 1 time in total.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Trickshot777

Have a good feeling about JT's chances this year, but he is likely to have a very tough draw if rankings stay the same. I think he is on course for Robertson in the quarters, O Sullivan in the semis, and probably Selby or Murphy in the final assuming the top seeds proceed. I reckon SF1 will be Selby vs Higgins and SF2 will be Trump vs Ronnie, with a Selby vs Trump/O'Sullivan final. Very tough to call!

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Wildey

Higgins wont get anywhere near a Semi Final.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby GJ

Not overly worried on robbos form think he will come good come Sheffield

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby V.V

I think Trump is the favorite. And I dont want to speculate about his tough draw since there will be upsets for sure, and some top players are out before semis and quarters. To beat two top 10 players is usually enough to win the championship.

And I think that Allen definetly is more promising shot to be the champion than bingo. Almost Higgins and MJW are too. Cant see Bingo in top 10 challengers.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby PoolBoy

As it stands with just the China Open to come!
Section 2 maybe gives Ding a chance to 'play himself in' before facing a quarter-final - but there will be no easy 1st round games.

Despite the China Open being a very worthy tournament in its own right, and a good 'ranker' for the snooker CV, the fact it directly precedes the Crucible means it's inevitably viewed more as an appetiser before the big one! A last chance for some players to find confidence and form...

Top Half:

Mark Selby (1) / Qualifier
Stephen Maguire (16) / Qualifier
Joe Perry (9) / Qualifier
Shaun Murphy (8) / Qualifier
————————————
Barry Hawkins (5) / Qualifier
Mark Allen (12) / Qualifier
Ali Carter (13) / Qualifier
Ding Junhui (4) / Qualifier

Lower Half:

Neil Robertson (3) / Qualifier
John Higgins (14) / Qualifier
Marco Fu (11) / Qualifier
Judd Trump (6) / Qualifier
————————————
Ricky Walden (7) / Qualifier
Stuart Bingham (10) / Qualifier
Mark Williams (15) / Qualifier
Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) / Qualifier

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby V.V

Now that Robertson lost in China, one must wonder how important the masters of this year was. Seems that Ronnie and Robbo got somewhat damaged in that tournament.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby GJ

Winning china open is huge look at the last 2 winners and how they fared at sheffield

:lol:

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Wildey

GJ wrote:Winning china open is huge look at the last 2 winners and how they fared at sheffield

:lol:

its not that mate

Robbo has really really struggled of late its like the confidence has been drained away from him

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby LC

Anyone see that Eurosport advert with Ronnie for the world champs? Not sure if he's up for the mental marathon like he mentions

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby SnookerFan

LC wrote:Anyone see that Eurosport advert with Ronnie for the world champs? Not sure if he's up for the mental marathon like he mentions


Not seen it.

But I can't imagine they'd put on an advert where the most popular player in the tour goes; "Well, I aint up for this. buck Sheffield! I'm going for a run....."

They are trying to get people to watch.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby LC

With his attitude of late was surprised he did it, can't see him knuckling down and battling for two weeks especially if he faces selby again

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby PLtheRef

GJ wrote:Winning china open is huge look at the last 2 winners and how they fared at sheffield

:lol:


Robbo hasn't won a match at the Crucible in an odd numbered year since 2009!

:-)

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby GJ

PLtheRef wrote:
GJ wrote:Winning china open is huge look at the last 2 winners and how they fared at sheffield

:lol:


Robbo hasn't won a match at the Crucible in an odd numbered year since 2009!

:-)


no better time to start than this year <cool>

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby GJ

Wildey

Mate your conveniently forgetting he won the Poland ptc despite bad form before hand and last year despite making china open final he played poor all week and hit form at Sheffield , write him off at your peril.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby SnookerFan

PLtheRef wrote:
Robbo hasn't won a match at the Crucible in an odd numbered year since 2009!

:-)


<doh>

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Wildey

GJ wrote:Wildey

Mate your conveniently forgetting he won the Poland ptc despite bad form before hand and last year despite making china open final he played poor all week and hit form at Sheffield , write him off at your peril.

i thought that win would have kicked him in to gear because he did play brilliantly that event but thoes 2 defeats to Mark Davis has kicked the stuffing out of him i was hoping he would have a run in china but he lost first match to poomjaeng no disrespect to Poomjaeng but hes played Jimmy White 3 times this season and lost every one, hes played Robbo twice this season and won twice.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Skullman

Now that the top 16 seeds are fixed and we're just two and half days from the seeding cut off, here's the seeded draw as it stands.

Selby (1) v Maguire (16)
Perry (9) v Murphy (8)
Hawkins (5) v Allen (12)
Carter (13) v Ding (4)
-----------------------------------------
Robertson (3) v Higgins (14)
Fu (11) v Trump (6)
Walden (7) v Bingham (10)
Williams (15) v O'Sullivan (2)

The names in red can still changes places. Basically if Ding wins his quarter, he'll swap with Robbo.

And if Higgins wins the title, he'll move above Allen, Fu and Bingham and take Bingo's spot and move everyone else down a spot.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Wildey

Looking at that it could be to Ding's Advantage not to beat Higgins here and play Carter in sheffield if Carter wins However i dont believe they think like that

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Snooker Overdrive

Wildey wrote:Looking at that it could be to Ding's Advantage not to beat Higgins here and play Carter in sheffield if Carter wins However i dont believe they think like that


I basically said the same thing yesterday. If I was completely neutral I would want Robbo in the upper half of the draw to make it more competitive but on the other hand there is a mouth watering Trump v Robbo quarter in prospect in the bottom half.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Skullman

Well there's also the chance for Robbo v Allen and Ding v Trump quarter if the positions switched.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby armchair de critique

Personally I'd prefer Ding in the top half, but I'd be surprised if he knew the consequence of winning/losing the next match regards the top half/bottom half at Sheffield....I could be wrong.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Snooker Overdrive

Skullman wrote:Well there's also the chance for Robbo v Allen and Ding v Trump quarter if the positions switched.


Robbo will be a firm favourite against Allen and Ding is pretty much a wildcard this year at the Crucible.

Trump v Robbo is one of the most interesting rivalries snooker has to offer, it's a 50-50 match at the highest level.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby vodkadiet

Selby should have lost deliberately to Milkins, and then he probably would have been seeded to play him in the last 16.

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Snooker Overdrive

vodkadiet wrote:Selby should have lost deliberately to Milkins, and then he probably would have been seeded to play him in the last 16.


I also pointed out in the CO thread that this might bite him in the bottom at the Crucible. But do you seriously suggest that Selby shouldn't have tried his hardest to win his match against Milkins today?!

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby vodkadiet

Snooker Overdrive wrote:
vodkadiet wrote:Selby should have lost deliberately to Milkins, and then he probably would have been seeded to play him in the last 16.


I also pointed out in the CO thread that this might bite him in the bottom at the Crucible. But do you seriously suggest that Selby shouldn't have tried his hardest to win his match against Milkins today?!


The system used in grand slam tennis should be adopted:

Last 16; seeds 1-4 projected to met any seed from 13-16; seeds 5-8 projected to meet 9-12.

Last 8; seeds 1-4 could meet any seed 5-8.

Last 4; 1 and 2 could meet either 3 or 4.

A hypothetical projected draw:

1 - 14
5 - 10
8 - 9
3 -15
4 - 16
7 - 11
6 -12
2 - 13

Re: The Main Contenders

Postby Wildey

Snooker Overdrive wrote:
vodkadiet wrote:Selby should have lost deliberately to Milkins, and then he probably would have been seeded to play him in the last 16.


I also pointed out in the CO thread that this might bite him in the bottom at the Crucible. But do you seriously suggest that Selby shouldn't have tried his hardest to win his match against Milkins today?!

if your a bonafied top player who you play in which round is irrelevant might as well get them out early