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So what is going on with the top 16?

Postby PLtheRef

The 2017 UK Championship has been an event marked with a number of surprise results, and shock exits, including only four members of the top 16 seeds reaching the last 16 of the competition, and as at this moment with half of the fourth round remaining to be played, none of the top 16 seeds currently through to the quarter-finals, whilst only two remain.

Of course, an event with a series of surprise results and shock exits isn't that unusual in snooker. We've seen many events over the years where an unexpected winner has come through the battlefield to take the spoils at the end of the week. We've also seen a number of events where a number of the top players have struggled, the 2012 World Championship saw only eight seeds reach the last 16, whilst going further back the 2002 LG Cup saw just seven of the top 16 reach the last 16, in both cases needing to win just a solitary match compared to the three required by the top 16 in this 128 draw event.

However, for all that has been said about it not being unusual, 2017 does mark the fourth year in a row where the top 16 seeds have struggled, last year just seven top 16 reached the last 16, in 2015 it was only six and in 2014 just nine made the last 16.

So why is that the case? Does the format play a part? Possibly? In going from entering at the last 32 stage, to entering with everyone else in a flat 128 draw there was bound to be more of the top 16 seeds with the potential to depart earlier, but then again in the 2013 event which saw best of 11 frame matches up until the semi-finals, you had 14 of the top 16 make the last 16 in a 128 flat draw

Does the best of 11 frame format play a role? An unscientific guess would say that there is more chance of a surprise result in a best of 11 frame single session match than a best of 17 match over two sessions. How many of the top 16 who have lost their matches might have had a chance to recover the deficit in a longer format from 5-3 or 6-2 behind? Similarly, how many underdogs would have gone on to complete a win having had several hours or a day to ponder on their lead.

The comparisons suggest that there isn't that much of a difference however, the last four Best of 17 UK Championships that saw the top 16 seeds require multiple match wins to reach the last 16 (entering at the last 64 stage), 1996 saw 10 of the top 16 reach the last 16, 1997 saw seven, just five (though included in the other 11 was Ronnie O'Sullivan who withdrew from his first round match with John Read) and in 1999 nine top 16 players reached the last 16 stage. From 2000 onwards to 2012 only 48 or latterly 32 players qualified for the the venue meaning top 16 players enter at the last 32 stage.

Perhaps it is worth noting that of the players who reached the last 16 of this UK Championships, 11 of them are or are former members of the top 16. In addition, of the top 16, 11 have reached the UK Championship quarter-finals (added to by Ryan Day's fourth round win tonight), nine have been to the Semi-Finals, five have been to the Final and four have become Champion.


Re: So what is going on with the top 16?

Postby Badsnookerplayer

Interesting indeed.

I think that the shorter format matches do contribute to top players exiting earlier, but over a best of 11 they do generally have a chance to recover an early deficit. However, I don't think that it is the main factor. It would be interesting to see some hard and fast stats.

Flat 128 format undoubtedly promotes the chances of a surprise and this must contribute to a rise in top 16 failures. To my mind, this is the largest factor. To make the QF, a top 16 player has to play well all the time. Just one off session and they are out.

The third factor for me is allied to the flat 128, and it is the strength in depth of the field and the fact that lower ranked players are more familiar with the top seeds now, having the chance to play them regularly. Contrary to Ronnie's nasty comments, these players (below 64 in rankings) are not numpties. They are now playing top seeds more and have more chance to learn from them and develop tactics to beat them.

Just my thoughts.

Re: So what is going on with the top 16?

Postby TheSaviour

My thoughts are that the turning percentages does all the telling. No-one can do it always. The statistics, such as the top 16 rankings, don´t lie, but it is only something we can read from those.

Elliot Slessor and Mitchell Mann are now the two players I am really looking forward to push the game forward. They are both class acts and a very suitable to battle it out. Slowly, slowly, steadily, never rush. Just let the top players do what they can and to turn it on with the turning percentages as they can. But that still hardly says it all.

A wee bit even better. Yes.. I have predicted years ago that Stephen Maguire will be the greatest sportsperson and a hero that Glasgow has ever produced. The people are just so afraid of those predictions. But they also are afraid of their own intuitions. If he would be that the people would be afraid everything will be changed. But then we wouldn´t have to be annoyed about the results. The people like Joe Perry, Shaun Murphy or Ronnie O´Sullivan are just doing something they have always done. There should be something even better than that. Now, Stephen is just that. Just awaits his results, and you´re perfectly fine. I am sure he is big and ugly enough to deal with all that. He has the natural talent, never count him out when there´s those longer formats. Stephen´s still the top dog while there´s longer formats involved. Currently not the best there´s is but amongs the top challengers, and always will be there. While there are the longer formats. I am not saying anything about myself, just stating the how it is regarding Stephen.