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What next for Selby and co.? The Road to the World Championship

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Post by The Special Juan on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 5:10 pm

After Mark Selby's wonderful victory over defending champion Neil Robertson in the final of the Masters, he's added snooker's second major event to his recent UK Championship victory and the prospect of becoming the first man to win all three events in snooker's Triple Crown since 2003 looms large. For me, the Masters backed up what I already knew - Mark Selby is the best player in the world at the moment. It may sound simple enough as he is currently the world number 1, but he's now won a big event to back up his position and is not just there purely because of consistency in the PTC events.

So what's next for Selby and the others? Well, the next ranking event, the German Masters, is looming at the end of the season. With O'Sullivan, the defending champion, not being present this year, the event is fairly wide open, especially as all the players, regardless of ranking, must win at least one match before they reach the televised stages. Amongst the currently qualified players are Ken Doherty, Matthew Stevens, Graeme Dott, Stuart Bingham and Ali Carter, however Peter Ebdon and, most surprisingly, Mark Davis have not made it.

After the trip to Germany we then head to Wales for the Welsh Open. Defending champion Ding Junhui is showing absolutely no form at the moment but his fortunes may have changed by then. Indeed, Ding beat Selby in the final last year so this is an event Mark can look forward to and even look to a clean sweep of all the BBC's tournaments. Then it's on to Haikou in China for the China Open, an event won last year by Mark Allen which was a big surprise and his complained all the way through the tournament about the City and, to a lesser extent, the arena.

The players then return to Britain for the Players Tour Championship Finals which features the players who have won the most points from the PTC, European Tour and Asian Tour events over the course of the season. It is unlikely that defending champion Stephen Lee will be there so this is another major event up for grabs. After the PTC Finals, a trip to China beckons for the penultimate ranking event of the season, the China Open. Peter Ebdon, the defending champion, will be looking to gain some momentum to help him qualify for the World Championship, the last event of the season.

In my eyes, Mark Selby is favourite for the World title. Over the last few months he was proven to everyone his is the best player in the world and is not in a false ranking position. The big question on most people's minds is whether the defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan will bother to turn up. I'm not going to or am prepared to make any guesses. The usual suspects will be in the mix for the world title this year but my prediction for the winner, somewhat surprisingly, is John Higgins. It is odd, especially as I have made Selby favourite, but Higgins won the title in 2007, 2009 and 2011. It's 2013 this year... Do not rule out a new world champion though, especially one with the initials MS.
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Post by gboycottnut on Mon 21 Jan 2013, 11:04 pm

Winning the Masters and the UK Championship is one thing, but winning the World Championship is another thing as Jimmy White will tell you himself.

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Post by The Special Juan on Sat 23 Feb 2013, 11:05 am

The World Open starts on Monday on ITV4. No Carter though Sad
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Post by Dave. on Sat 23 Feb 2013, 3:58 pm

The Special Juan wrote:The World Open starts on Monday on ITV4. No Carter though Sad

Dominic Dale will be there. Beat Dave Harold 5-4 in the final Q round.

Shame Dave is out but snooker needs Dom. Get Dave in as Carter's replacement.

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Post by The Special Juan on Sat 23 Feb 2013, 5:05 pm

Superb!!! Come on Dom! In fact, I reckon he needs to hire someone to do a "Glory Glory Dominic Dale!" song, like "Glory Glory Garry Thompson!".

Well...... Maybe Fergal instead.
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Post by The Special Juan on Mon 25 Feb 2013, 6:36 pm

The most notable wins of the day go to Walden, Milkins and Angles.
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Post by VTR on Mon 25 Feb 2013, 7:17 pm

Angles is on a roll at the moment!

I'm a Dom fan too, he has very nice shoes. Anyone keeping Dave Harold away from TV deserves a knighthood as well. Go Dom!

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Post by The Special Juan on Tue 26 Feb 2013, 11:24 am

I think he's on later but don't know if it's on TV. Come on Dom!!
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Post by VTR on Tue 26 Feb 2013, 12:04 pm

Even if he was on I wouldn't be able to watch it sadly. I can watch about 45 mins before work in the morning. I sat down this morning to watch the Allen match and rain (leaky roof) stopped play. What are the chances of that in snooker?!

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Post by The Special Juan on Tue 26 Feb 2013, 12:31 pm

I heard about that. Very slim chances of it happening but I think it happened before in a match involving Alex Higgins (or someone, it happened before but I can't remember who was playing).
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Post by The Special Juan on Tue 26 Feb 2013, 2:42 pm

Ah Dom Sad Never mind, come on Angles!
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Post by VTR on Tue 26 Feb 2013, 3:34 pm

Poor old Dom. He always seems to get to the main draw of these tournaments but never wins anymore. Mr Consistent in qualifying, just can't get a run after that.

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Post by The Special Juan on Tue 26 Feb 2013, 8:24 pm

Selby, Williams, Higgins, Angles and Ding are all in action tomorrow.
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Post by The Special Juan on Wed 27 Feb 2013, 10:12 am

I always say it but Michael Holt = Joey Barton. Wow.
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Post by VTR on Wed 27 Feb 2013, 12:17 pm

What did Holt do TSJ? I always thought he was a bit of a weapon, has he done something stupid again?

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Post by The Special Juan on Wed 27 Feb 2013, 5:41 pm

I meant just in looks Very Happy From what I heard off the commentators I think he was getting a bit annoyed but nothing at all out of the ordinary.


Angles Sad MJW is out too but I did fancy Marco to win that match. Retirement is calling Mark. Embrace it!
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Post by VTR on Wed 27 Feb 2013, 6:23 pm

Ha ha, I see what you mean. Yep that's not a bad lookalike. They do share traits in other ways as well e.g. Holt once hit the table and broke his knuckle!

Agree Williams should retire, embarrassing now to be honest which is a shame as he was once of the best players to watch.

Some good matches tomorrow: Bingham vs Higgins and Stevens vs Murphy should be close ones

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Post by The Special Juan on Wed 27 Feb 2013, 7:33 pm

It's weird, at the beginning of the 00s, the big three were Ronnie, the naturally talented one with lots of flair, Higgins, the best all round player and MJW, the best potter in the game. When we look at the top three these days.... Judd, the naturally talented one with lots of flair, Selby, the best all round player and Robbo, the best potter in the game.

I think Ronnie, Higgins and MJW were better than the current three though and I'd rather they retired with dignity rather than go on like Hendry and drop way down the rankings.

If everyone has their cues, those matches will be very good. I heard a lot of players, including Matthew, were waiting for their cues to arrive and even played without them. Ricky beat Ebdon with both players not using their regular cues.

I think they should have some sort of "Chinese swing" in snooker with most of the events taking place at the same time of the year (e.g. February-April or whatever) instead of going backwards and forwards all year.
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Post by Dave. on Wed 27 Feb 2013, 9:42 pm

Poor ITV4 signal means I wont see this again to Friday.

Crowd livened up yet?

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Post by The Special Juan on Wed 27 Feb 2013, 9:55 pm

They made a bit of noise when Ding won today (and he even cracked a smile!!) but no one's really turned up yet in the audience. Bring the event to Telford!!
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Post by The Special Juan on Thu 28 Feb 2013, 8:10 am

This is great from Judd. (Potential opponent in the next round) SMurphy better watch out but that match will be a belter.
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Post by VTR on Thu 28 Feb 2013, 9:15 am

Good observation on the Top 3 TSJ, had not thought of it that way before. The current 3 have some way to go to match the top 3 from the 00's, 2 of whom (ROS and Higgins) would be in my Top 5 of all time. Not sure any of Robertson, Trump and Selby get in my top 10 though they have time on their side.

Judd was excellent this morning, though Bond was very, very poor giving him a chance every time he visited the table!

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Post by VTR on Thu 28 Feb 2013, 9:43 am

Dave. wrote:Poor ITV4 signal means I wont see this again to Friday.

Crowd livened up yet?

What crowds?! I thought Snooker was supposed to be huge in China now but very few are watching in the venue. What's going on, can anyone explain?

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Post by The Special Juan on Thu 28 Feb 2013, 2:17 pm

Upon further inspection the crowds are sitting either side of the table and there's quite a few of them but that's only because Ding is playing Fu. Ding's currently 4-2 in front and is my joint favourite for the title along with JT. Both are playing supremely.

On a side note, Higgins beat Bingham 5-0 which is very impressive indeed.
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Post by gboycottnut on Thu 28 Feb 2013, 11:01 pm

VTR wrote:
Dave. wrote:Poor ITV4 signal means I wont see this again to Friday.

Crowd livened up yet?

What crowds?! I thought Snooker was supposed to be huge in China now but very few are watching in the venue. What's going on, can anyone explain?

Easy. Everyone snooker fan even those in China are busy on the Internet reading about Ronnie O'Sullivan's announcement this week that he will be coming back for the World Championship!

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Post by The Special Juan on Fri 01 Mar 2013, 7:42 am

Come on Matchu!!
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Post by The Special Juan on Fri 01 Mar 2013, 8:19 am

Judd really is the luckiest player I've ever seen!!
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Post by The Special Juan on Sat 02 Mar 2013, 10:10 am

Good match, this.
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Post by The Special Juan on Sat 02 Mar 2013, 10:50 am

Matchu Sad He should be in the final, instead he's probably away to lose.
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Post by The Special Juan on Sat 02 Mar 2013, 10:53 am

We're going to a decider but seeing as Matchu's struggling to close out frames it has to be Robbo for me.
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Post by The Special Juan on Sat 02 Mar 2013, 11:23 am

MATCHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!! He's in the final!!!
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Post by The Special Juan on Sat 02 Mar 2013, 1:04 pm

Hmmmmm, this is the best I've seen Mark play since.... I don't know when!!
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Post by The Special Juan on Sat 02 Mar 2013, 1:37 pm

5-2 Allen. Scratch my last post, this is the best I've ever seen him play.
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Post by The Special Juan on Sat 02 Mar 2013, 1:46 pm

6-2 Allen. One of the best displays of attacking snooker you will ever see.
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Post by Dave. on Sat 02 Mar 2013, 3:06 pm

Marvelous. Just marvelous.

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Post by Taylorman on Fri 29 Mar 2013, 8:23 pm

Seems from tournament to tournament the form swaps from one player to the next. Ding was sensational vs Allen recently. Trumps mate Lazowski was excellent in beating Trump, a sure future star. Selby is still there or abouts and so is Higgins still hanging around after Shanghai.

Unless O'Sullivan has been practising long and hard this year can't see him finding the sort of form he'll need after a year layoff. He's certainly a confidence player and lack of tournament play will kill him.

I'll go with Higgins (for Sheffield) Ding then Selby with never say die Ali Carter to round the top 4. Higgins to beat Selby in the final. I would love to see Dings technique come through and win it though. He does have a problem with the occasion sometimes. Shanghai and a few unexpected losses seems to be affecting Trump as well. He should have taken Shanghai but when put under pressure from Higgins folded badly.

Without an in form Ronnie Higgins looks by far the toughest mentally.

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Post by gboycottnut on Sun 31 Mar 2013, 6:17 pm

Taylorman wrote:Seems from tournament to tournament the form swaps from one player to the next. Ding was sensational vs Allen recently. Trumps mate Lazowski was excellent in beating Trump, a sure future star. Selby is still there or abouts and so is Higgins still hanging around after Shanghai.

Unless O'Sullivan has been practising long and hard this year can't see him finding the sort of form he'll need after a year layoff. He's certainly a confidence player and lack of tournament play will kill him.

I'll go with Higgins (for Sheffield) Ding then Selby with never say die Ali Carter to round the top 4. Higgins to beat Selby in the final. I would love to see Dings technique come through and win it though. He does have a problem with the occasion sometimes. Shanghai and a few unexpected losses seems to be affecting Trump as well. He should have taken Shanghai but when put under pressure from Higgins folded badly.

Without an in form Ronnie Higgins looks by far the toughest mentally.

Well Ronnie being the player he is unlike others such as John Higgins, Mark Selby etc just doesn't need such matches under his belt going into the World Championship for him to win it. I believe that Ronnie will get better round by round and if he does reach the final he will be very difficult to beat over a long best of 35 frame format which actually does suit his style of game.

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Post by CJB on Mon 01 Apr 2013, 12:34 am

Selby has a bit of a horror draw

R1: Qualifier so could be Davis/Fu
R2: Hawkins
R3: Allen/Ding
R4: Robertson/Maguire
R5: Trump/Carter/Higgins/Ronnie/Murphy

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Post by gboycottnut on Mon 01 Apr 2013, 11:03 am

Would love to see a Selby V Ronnie O'Sullivan final, with Selby taking up the Steve Davis role as the player casual snooker fans don't want to win, with O'Sullivan taking up the role as the player that most of the fans and spectators want to win such a match.

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Post by EdWoodjr on Thu 11 Apr 2013, 6:07 pm

It would be great to Jimmy White make it back again but I can"t see him getting past Milkins in the final qualifier.

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Post by The Special Juan on Thu 11 Apr 2013, 9:55 pm

It would be absolutely wonderful to see the old legend back at the Crucible but he faces a really tough match in the final qualifying round. But come on Angles, we know you can do it!!

And Jimmy, yeah.... The Milkman is having a great season but can blow hot or cold. There were worse draws out there.
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Post by Taylorman on Sat 13 Apr 2013, 2:09 pm

Tending towards Ding now having watched the
PTC a bit more. Dings only flaw is his match temperamant sometimes lets him down but his breakbuilding and fightback vs Robbo at the PTC suggests he's hardened. Wonderful cueist though.

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Post by The Special Juan on Mon 15 Apr 2013, 2:48 pm

I'll do a WC thread tonight if I get a chance, if not it'll be Thursday.
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