Mark Selby TOP SPOT UNDER THREAT
Mark Selby has held the world number one position for 49 consecutive months, but Ronnie O’Sullivan can knock him off top spot if he wins this week’s Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno.
Selby reached the top of the official two-year list by winning the German Masters in February 2015 and has been there ever since. But his lead over O’Sullivan is now down to £71,725, going into this week’s eight-man event at Venue Cymru, which runs from March 19 to 24. Selby meets Neil Robertson in the first round tomorrow (Tuesday) while O’Sullivan takes on Stuart Bingham on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Even if Selby reaches the final, worth £60,000, if he then lost to O’Sullivan, the £150,000 top prize would be enough to put the Rocket top of the list for the first time since 2010.
And if Selby manages to hang on to his number one status this week, he will have large sums coming off his total over the next two months, having won both the China Open and World Championship in 2017. For more on that story click here.
The race to qualify for this week’s event in Llandudno is over, with the top eight players on the one-year ranking list making the cut. David Gilbert was in with a chance of leap-frogging either Stuart Bingham or Kyren Wilson right up until the quarter-finals of the Betway Gibraltar Open on Sunday. Gilbert needed a run to the final to earn a spot in North Wales, but Ryan Day ended his hopes two matches short.
That means the draw for the Coral Tour Championship is:
Mark Allen (1) v Kyren Wilson (8)
Neil Robertson (4) v Mark Selby (5)
Judd Trump (3) v Mark Williams (6)
Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) v Stuart Bingham (7)
Bingham won the title in Gibraltar, beating Day 4-1 in the final, and he is up two places to 12th on the official list.
There are just two counting events to go (Coral Tour Championship and China Open) in the Race to the Crucible. Just by qualifying for Llandudno, Bingham adds a guaranteed £20,000 to his total, so he is now assured of a top 16 spot at Sheffield next month.
Day currently lies 17th and his run to the final in Gibraltar narrowed the gap to 16th placed Gilbert to £15,000. With a top prize of £225,000 available at the China Open, there will be over 30 players in Beijing with a chance to leap into the elite from outside the top 16.
In the race for the new Coral Cup, awarded to the player who wins the most money across the three Coral tournaments, O’Sullivan and Judd Trump lead the way on £130,000, but all eight players in the field in Llandudno have a chance.