With the qualifying rounds for the 2019 The World Snooker Championship coming to an end the final make up of players is becoming clearer.
The championship, which starts on Saturday, will be contested by 32 players. 16 top seeds automatically qualify. Another 16 players will win their places through the qualifying rounds. These players will be drawn at random against the top 16 players for the championship proper.
Last year’s winner and world number 1 Mark Williams will defend his title at the Crucible Theater. A surprise winner last year, Williams said in the early rounds he would give his post-final interview naked if he won. He went on win and he presented himself before sports news media apparently naked.
Young up and coming snooker talents, Kyren Wilson and Judd Trump, will look to take the title as a new generation of snooker players emerge, while snooker superstar Ronnie O’Sullivan will be a strong contender and current favorite for the title.
Amongst the player coming through the qualifiers to make it to the crucible for the final stages is promising Chinese youngster Zhao Xintong who will be one to watch. Xintong eased past opponent Matthew Selt to claim his spot in the Crucible.
Two-times world champion snooker runner up Ali Carter qualifies after knocking out legendary player, jimmy White.
Ali Carter beat White to end the six-time runner-up’s hopes of reaching the Crucible for the first time since 2006. White won 10 titles over a long career with his playing heyday in the 80s and 90s.
Ali Carter lost to Ronnie O’Sullivan on two previous occasions at the Crucible final and said he hopes to meet O’Sullivan again.
While 2017 Masters runner up Joe Perry makes it through this time there have been some highly rated casualties of the qualifying round.
Casualties include former world champion and two time runner up Graeme Dott who fails to make it through the qualifiers. Matthew Stevens, seven times runner up in ranking finals, had his hopes of a return to the crucible ended in defeat at the qualifying stage. Former world number 5 Marco Fu and former top 16 player Joe Swail are also out before the final stages at the Crucible.
Winner of two ranking finals Domonic Day fell in the second round. Peter Ebdon, the two times world champion with 18 appearances in ranking finals, fell to Michael Georgiou who won his first professional ranking title in 2018.
The qualifying rounds were notable for having two women in the mix. Both have now been eliminated.
Scotland’s Alan McManus edged past women’s world number one Ng On-yee who has won the women’s world title for the past two years.
McManus, a two-time Crucible semi-finalist fell behind 2-0 but eventually eased past the number one woman to secure his spot in the next round where he was eventually defeated.
England’s Reanne Evans, the only other woman playing in the qualifiers, lost 10-2 to Zhang Yong who is currently ranked at number 70.
The final draw of 32 players will take part in the final tournament of the World Snooker season, all hoping to bag the top prize of £500,000. ($650,000)
The World Snooker Championship will take place at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield over two weeks from 20 April to 6 May.