and Ken Doherty is through to the last round of qualifying on Thursday!
by beating Chris Wakelin, world number 22
must be Ken’s best result in years
and Ken Doherty is through to the last round of qualifying on Thursday!
by beating Chris Wakelin, world number 22
must be Ken’s best result in years
Still tickets left up to the quarters.
I’m going on Saturday so will do at least 2 posts then and maybe more if get #invested
4 players through to the tv stages so far, as it happens 2 from China and 2 from Thailand
Ding Junhui (ranked 17th)
Fan Zhengyi (ranked 33rd)
Noppon Saengkham (ranked 24th)
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (ranked 40th)
lineup for tomorrow
Was hoping Robbie Williams might get through for a bit of fun
Mark Allen v Ding should be good
how many columns have I put in my pre-tournament analysis spreadsheet?
righto then, let’s have a gander at each quarter of the draw
these matches in the top quarter are all tomorrow on the first day
here are some stats - I’ll do each quarter of the draw, then post the full stats of everything for everyone
Official rankings are done over a two year period. Bigger tournaments have more prize money thus more ranking points. The UK champs is second to only the worlds in terms of prize money.
The seeding in this tournament is to have the defending champion as the number one seed and the world champ as the number two seed. That’s why Allen has an official rank of 4 but shows as seed 1 in the draw screenshot above.
The other statistics I’ve used are all for this season. So season rank is how ranking by prize money/points in ranking events so far this season. It determines qualification for a few tournaments in the new year. Frames/matches/centuries are for this season. Century % frames is centuries divided by all frames, 70+ all frames is the same for breaks of 70 or above (so includes centuries).
I decided to include breaks of 70+ as well because we know that if a player is playing well, they’ll kill off frames in just one visit to the table. In terms of winning, it’s nice to keep your opponent in their chair for longer and make a century but a break of 75 is just as good as a 147 in terms of winning the frame. There must be a percentage of frames where players make a 70 break and still lose the frame, but it can’t be too happening often. And of course you can make a break of less than 70 to win the frame, but let’s not worry about that right now…
Allen has been given the toughest possible opponent, with Ding ranked 17th so only just missing out on qualifying as a seed. Having won a couple of matches this week who knows, maybe he’ll roll in to the tv stages and spring a surprise… not that much of a surprise if he wins though tbf.
Ding will definitely be keen to avoid a repeat of what happened vs Allen in the final last year, losing 7 frames in a row from 6-1 up, losing 10-7
Saengkham is great to watch when he’s playing well. He reached the last 16 a couple of years ago with wins against Carter and Bingham but didn’t qualify for the tv stages last year. As it happens, last year he lost his final qualifying match against… Tom Ford! I have Saengkham as the favourite due to the advantage of playing and winning qualifying matches this week.
Ford at his best is very good. There’s only 11 players who have made 5 or more maximum breaks. In addition to Ford, the other players with 5 maximums are Neil Robertson, Mark Selby and Marco Fu. The players with 6 or more have all won multiple triple crown titles. Ford hasn’t won a ranking event, making 3 finals so far. But two of them were this year, so he’s definitely in the best form he’s ever been in. He’ll also take confidence from reaching the semis at this tournament last year as a qualifier with wins on tv against Higgins and Brecel.
Ding will knock Ford out of the top 16 if he at least matches his performance in this tournament. By the tiniest of margins as well - if they both lose in round 1 the figure would be Ding ranked 16th on £285,000 and Ford 17th on £284,000. That would mean that Ford missed out on playing in the Masters. Having never played in the Masters, to miss out by the tiniest possible margin would be absolutely brutal. Heard it said in commentary loads of times that Ford is a miserable bastard as well so no doubt if it did happen, he’d be banging on about it for the rest of the season.
If you lose your first match either in qualifying or the tv stages, the money doesn’t count towards your ranking. So Ding gained £10,000 on his ranking points by winning his two qualifying matches and reaching the last 32 aka tv stages and that’s what he gets paid if he loses his first round match. If Ford loses his first round match, he gets paid the £10,000 but gets no ranking points.
Mark Williams won the British Open a couple of months ago. That’s put him 3rd on the season list. Not really much to say about him, you know he’s good.
Fan is a ranking tournament winner, he beat Ronnie in a decider in the final. So he’s got the confidence that comes with past success, but he’s not having a particularly strong season. He’s attacking and fun to watch tho, so him against Williams could be pretty tasty.
Kyren’s not done brilliantly this season in terms of winning which is why his season rank is down at 31, but 20 centuries is a decent number and shows that he’s not playing badly. He’s hitting large breaks at a similar rate to Williams. He’ll be hoping for a repeat of 2021 when he reached the semis by beating Ronnie.
The stats show that Jamie Clarke has the worst form of anyone who’s made the tv stages, be a shock if Kyren doesn’t absolutely steamroller him. Ranked 93rd on the season list and only 1 century this season! You lose your tour card when you’re ranked below 64th, so 93rd is very much relegation form if it runs for long enough (2 year tour card so relegation form has to go on a while).
this is the bottom quarter and these matches are all on Sunday
Vafaei is good when he’s good but when he’s a bad he’s awful. Like in the world champs where he tried trash talking Ronnie and got pumped 13-2 Hopefully he beats Murphy
Selt is one of those players who is consistently good enough to stay on tour but has never been ranked higher than 20th. He’s reached quite a few quarter finals including at this tournament in 2015 but he got there without playing any top players and then went out after losing 6-1 to Selby. Carter won’t be worried, particularly as he’s having a strong season.
Zhang won the recent International Championship and with the prize money being the largest of the season to that point, it jumped him up to 2nd in the season rankings. Slessor has qualified for most tournaments this season but 14 breaks of 70+ isn’t very many! His highest ever ranking was 39th, so against a player in strong form like Zhang, I don’t think he’s got much hope of winning.
Brecel took a very laid back attitude to the world championship, and that helped him to win it. But it would appear that he’s rather cruising through this season, with his season ranking at 60 and only 7 centuries made. It’s not impossible he could lose his first round match with Yuan Sijun.
Anyone watch the Ronnie doc? I’m not paying for Amazon so if anyone finds a link - wink wink…
Is this on BBC at all?
literally on bbc2 right now!
Great match that
Huh. Thought it might be. Stupid bloody iPlayer app makes it so hard to tell what’s ACTUALLY ON TV AT THE ACTUAL MOMENT.
fucking hell Jamie Clarke won
was out last night so only just seen the results
Selby had a decent start to the season by reaching a semi and a final but has dropped off since then. He has 9 triple crown titles, which is level with Higgins, so I’m sure he’d like to get ahead by winning another here.
Joyce ranked higher than Jamie Clarke for the season but has actually won fewer matches. Did well to qualify for this event by beating Joe Perry though.
Ben Woollaston is another player who you wouldn’t have expected to qualify based on his official ranking and his season so far. 5 of 16 players who qualified started in the second round of qualifying, the others started in the third round. So to get to the tv stages Woollaston had to win 3 qualifying matches as did Joyce. This means that this quarter of the draw is particularly unbalanced in terms of the qualifiers vs the seeds.
Hawkins is having a very strong season, winning the European Masters and reaching the semis then quarter of the last two events. He missed playing in the world champs this year as he lost in qualifying and that seems to have pushed him to find a way to win this season. Seems silly to me that the bookies have longer odds on Hawkins winning the title than both Brecel and Neil Robertson given where those two are this season so far.
Lisowski is having a season on par with his world ranking, as is everyone in this section. He’s been in 6 ranking finals and lost them to Trump, Selby or Robertson. He’ll definitely win one at some point, probably when the draw is kind and he doesn’t have to play someone that good to get over the line.
Jamie Jones didn’t have to play anyone ranked higher than him in qualifying due to Gary Wilson getting knocked out before they met. Pretty sure he’s quite fast so should be a decent match vs Lisowski.
Pang Junxu got to the final of a ranking tournament this year and lost to Selby in the final. It was the weird tournament in March that was scheduled last minute to replace the cancelled Turkish Masters. The quarters, semis and final were all on the same day. Selby beat Higgins and Carter to get to the final whereas Pang beat Oliver Lines and Gary Wilson. The latter was by far the best player he played on that run, but still a decent achievement to reach a final.
Trump’s numbers this season are fucking ridiculous. Nearly twice as many centuries as anyone else! If he carries on like this he’ll surely have a chance of getting over 100 for the season, which has only been done twice before. You may remember it was first done by Robertson making 103, then Trump did it quite recently but finished with 102. He’d definitely like to take the record cos he must have been well annoyed to fall short.
Any chance you could do a bit of a deeper dive, wiggo?
Ronnie has only played in a handful of tournaments so far this season but he’s done well in them, with his win rate even higher than Trump’s. He won the Shanghai Masters, which was a non-ranking tournament. I included non-ranking tournaments for match and frame win stats. Without that tournament he’d still be at 80% win rate, which is still well ahead of Hawkins who’s next on that stat. If it had been a ranking tournament, he’d be much higher in the season rankings because he got a nice winners cheque for £210,000 so even higher than for the uk championship. No wonder he says he’d like to just play in China.
McGill hasn’t had a strong season but we know that he’s very capable, he also admits that he doesn’t get as much as he should from the smaller tournaments, he’s way more motivated by the big ones. So be interesting to see how he does vs Ronnie.
Milkins hasn’t had a strong season in ranking tournaments but did beat Williams in the Champion of Champions and Murphy in the Shanghai Masters. So that implies that his best is still decent. I wouldn’t expect him to go deep in the tournament given his form but also where he is in the draw.
Thepchaiya is still the fastest man on earth. He also has the highest rate of 70+ breaks out of everyone but as he’s in the middle of the match win rankings, he’s clearly not able to win the more tactical frames.
If he gets past Milkins and plays Ronnie the match might be a quick one tho. His 10-1 loss to Ronnie at the worlds in 2020 only took 108 minutes. Zoom zoom.
Higgins is doing well enough but he hasn’t won a triple crown title for 12 years. Since he lost in the final of the 2018 worlds, he’s lost in 6 of 7 finals with the most recent being March 2022. The one he did win though, he was fucking incredible at the players championship 2021. He beat Jordan Brown (who’d just won his first ranking tournament a few days earlier) 6-0, then Selby 6-0 (Selby only scored 7 points ) then Kyren 6-1 and Ronnie 10-3. It was obscene. But at the UK champs, he’s only reached the quarters once in the last 6 years.
Joe O’Connor got to the final of the Scottish Open a year ago, he beat Zhao Xintong, Ding, Williams, Walden, Robertson then lost to Gary Williams in the final. That’s a very strong lineup. He beat Stephen Maguire to qualify for this tournament, who’s obviously a very decent player on his day.
Robertson’s form has totally fallen off a cliff.
Full list of matches he’s won this season:
4-1 vs Jamie Clarke
5-0 vs Ryan Thomerson (highest ranking position ever: 89th)
6-4 vs Ryan Thomerson
4-1 vs Wu Yize
6-5 vs Ding
6-1 vs Fan
The latter two were in the Shanghai Masters so no ranking points gained. That’s the only tournament he’s won 2 matches at so he’s not got any kind of recent experience of putting together a winning run.
He’s lost in the first round of 4 rankings tournaments this season and he’s lost in qualifying twice. It’s absolutely astonishing how consistently poor his results have been.
He won the UK champs in 2020 but he’s lost in the first round twice from two tournaments since then so it’s not like he’s got any form here either…
He’s not taking part in the Scottish Open in December, I think he’s going back to Australia. If he doesn’t pull something out of the bag this week he’ll need to find some serious form in 2024 if he wants to stay in the top 16. Particularly as he’s going to need to shoot up the 1 year rankings to have any chance of defending £125,000 of prize money from winning the 2022 players championship.
Zhou Yuelong is having a decent season without doing anything too notable. He reached the final of the NI Open last year so knows how to put together a run. He had a kind draw in qualifying due to the better players in his section losing, so only had to beat players ranked 90th and 103rd to qualify. But that will given him confidence and given Robertson’s form, who knows.
Here’s the full sized data with everyone. The differences in form between the qualifiers is stark. And yet Jamie Clarke won his match yesterday!
When writing about Joe O’Connor I was thinking that a lot of players will have the odd tournament where they’re just on fire, but no one has really broken through to the top of the rankings for ages. To reach the top 8 you pretty much have to either win the big ones or be incredibly consistent. Jordan Brown winning his title, Fan winning his by beating Ronnie, Pang getting to a ranking final, Zhou as well. None of them have got anywhere near the top of the rankings.
Here are the players who won their first ranking title in the last 20 years. I’ve taken out players who have 1 win at the Shoot Out cos that’s not a proper tournament.
If they’ve reached their highest rank multiple times I’ve put the date as the first time eg. Milkins got to 12 this year but had already done so in 2014.
So in the last 10 years, the only players who have started winning ranking tournaments and reached the top 8 of the rankings are Kyren, Perry, Brecel and Xintong. Day hasn’t been in the top 8 since the 2009-10 season. Perry’s career is on the way down. Xintong’s career is suspended.
Whereas in the 10 years before that we had we loads of amazing players turning up.
Here are the triple crown winners in the last 20 years
So first time triple crown winners in the last 10 seasons are: Bingham, Xintong, Allen, Bingtao, Brecel. Two of those are suspended, Allen is 37, Bingham is 47. Where are the good players younger than Trump other than Brecel?
In the 10 years before that first time triple crown winners were Maguire, Murphy, Ding, Trump, Selby, Robertson, Dott.
It’s getting on towards 1am and I should really be in bed but that’s 2,800ish words across these preview posts. Should be some kind of badge for this.