Race for the Crucible hots up

Qualifiers for the Betfred World Snooker Championship continue over the weekend and into next week with some big names hoping to book their place in the showpiece event.

The world’s top 16 players are already in the draw, with Mark Selby the number one seed after he defeated Shaun Murphy last year to land his fourth world title.

Ronnie O’Sullivan will be gunning to equal Stephen Hendry’s record of seven world titles, while Judd Trump and Neil Robertson will be aiming to secure their second titles in Sheffield.

Kyren Wilson is the highest-ranked player at five never to have won the World Championship with eight former champions in total in the top 16.

Among those still in with a shout of making the finals are former world champion Graeme Dott and Stephen Maguire, who has played in every edition since 2004.

Betfred World Snooker Championship Betting Odds

Former finalist Ali Carter (Match betting – Carter 1/10, Gao Yang 11/2) is also in the qualifiers as is Hossain Vafaei (Match betting – Vafaei 1/7, Simon Lichtenberg 9/2), the Iranian world number 18 who won his first ranking title this season with victory in the Shoot Out.

Ricky Walden, world number 17 and thus the highest-ranked player not to automatically qualify, will not be returning to the Crucible after losing to Allan Taylor, while the likes of Mark King, Mark Joyce, and Michael Holt will all have to wait at least another year.

On Monday, 2006 champion Dott faces Pang Junxu (Match betting – Dott 4/9, Junxu 9/5) looking to get through to the final stage of qualifying, while former finalist Matthew Stevens faces Sam Craigie (Match betting – Stephens 10/11, Craigie 10/11), who made his debut at the Crucible last year.

Joe Perry, a former semi-finalist, faces young Welsh star Jackson Page (Match betting – Perry 1/4, Page 11/4).

Meanwhile, Robert Milkins, who won the first ranking title of his 27-year career after taking the Gilbraltar Open crown in March, takes on Cao Yupeng (Match betting – Milkins 6/5, Yupeng 4/6).

James Cahill, who became the first-ever amateur to qualify back in 2019 before stunning O’Sullivan in the first round, faces Liam Highfield (Match betting – Highfield 4/9, Cahill 17/10) and he will be looking to reach the Crucible stage as an amateur once more.

Snooker Betting Odds

Author: Paula Allen