Who Is Our Tip To Win The World Snooker Championship?
This past weekend, the 2021 World Snooker Championship got underway once again at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. 32 of the best players in the world began the contest seeking to become the new World Champion, with defending Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and world number 1 Judd Trump amongst the favourites to win the event.
With a small crowd allowed into the venue, it will be a nice change for players to play in front of a crowd once again and enjoy that aspect of the tournament. Something that has been sorely missed over the past 12 months or so.
This year’s event looks like being a very competitive one with a number of players entering the tournament in good form, while others will be looking to find their best form as they progress through the event and get more frames under their belt.
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Let’s now catch up with the results of the First Round matches that have been played, the latest in matches that are still ongoing, as well as those that are still to get underway.
World Snooker Championship – 1st Round Results
(Seedings shown in brackets)
- Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) 10-4 Mark Joyce
- Stephen Maguire (8) 4-10 Jamie Jones
- Neil Robertson (3) 10-3 Liang Wenbo
- Yan Bingtao (10) 10-6 Martin Gould
- David Gilbert (15) 10-4 Chris Wakelin
- John Higgins (5) 10-7 Tian Pengfei
- Anthony McGill (16) 10-5 Ricky Walden
- Kyren Wilson (6) 10-8 Gary Wilson
First Round Games In Progress
- Ding Junhui (9) 5-4 Stuart Bingham
- Jack Lisowski (14) 5-4 Ali Carter
Remaining First Round Games
- Mark Allen (13) v Lyu Haotian
- Judd Trump (2) v Liam Highfield
- Barry Hawkins (11) v Matthew Selt
- Mark Williams (12) v Sam Craigie
- Shaun Murphy (7) v Mark Davis
- Mark Selby (4) v Kurt Maflin
Confirmed Second Round Games (best of 25) (starts 22nd April)
- Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) v Anthony McGill (16)
Is There A Potential First Round Shock Still To Come?
So far in the tournament, only one seed, eighth seed Stephen Maguire, has lost his First Round game (to Jamie Jones). All other seeds have come through the tournament, including John Higgins who had a real battle in defeating Tian Pengfei yesterday, and Kyren Wilson, who came back from 5-1 down to beat Gary Wilson 10-8.
In the remaining matches there is potential for some huge upsets but the likelihood of them do look relatively small. I would certainly have all the seeded players in the remaining eight games to be decided as the favourites to progress.
The two games currently in progress and set to be completed today are probably the two tha are most likely to see an upset with Stuart Bingham, a former World Champion here, and Ali Carter, a two-time finalist, both very capable of winning their games against Ding Junhui and Jack Lisowski respectively.
In the games yet to start, Kurt Maflin may be the player with the best chance of an upset as he takes on fourth seed Mark Selby in what should be one of the most exciting games of the first round, although I would still expect Selby to progress from that contest.
Who Are The Players To Back In This Tournament?
Ronnie O’Sullivan (4/1)
- World Title Wins – 6 – 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2020
- Ranking Event Wins – 37
- Current Ranking – 2
- Tournament Ranking – 1
The Rocket Ronnie O’Sullivan won his sixth World Title last year in comfortable fashion and he now chases Stephen Hendry’s record of seven Crucible World titles this year. O’Sullivan doesn’t play anywhere near as many tournaments as other players on the tour, but he has already won the Premier League this season. Ranked first in the tournament, the defending Champion began his defence with an easy win over Mark Joyce and he does look like being the man to beat once again the top half of the draw.
Judd Trump (11/4 favourite)
- World Title Wins – 1 – 2019
- Ranking Event Wins – 22
- Current Ranking – 1
- Tournament Ranking – 2
The current world number 1 Judd Trump may be ranked second in this tournament, but he is without doubt the most consistent player in the tournament and should be counted as the favourite to reach the final from the bottom half of the draw. Trump has won five titles this season already, another phenomenal haul and he has also lost out in two other finals this season. A player with immense flair and talent, he has added steely consistency to his game and he deserves to be the favourite to win this tournament.
Neil Robertson (4/1)
- World Title Wins – 1 – 2010
- Ranking Event Wins – 20
- Current Ranking – 3
- Tournament Ranking – 3
My third pick for this event is the Australian Neil Robertson. The former World Champion, who last won the world title over ten years ago, has had a good season once again and is ranked third in the world and also third in the tournament. He made light work of his opening round game with the tricky Liang Wenbo and although he talked his chances down after that impressive display, his performances have warranted enough backing to put him on a par with O’Sullivan in the betting. A semifinal, likely with Judd Trump, stands in the way of a final place if he gets that far however.
Who Is The Pick To Win?
Out of those three outstanding candidates to win the title at the Crucible, my pick would be Judd Trump. O’Sullivan has only once won back-to-back world titles and with him seeing so little action this season, I just feel Trump has the edge in terms of match sharpness and also an improving tactical game. Trump’s consistency too makes him a very easy selection here.
*All odds shown were correct with bet365 Sport as of 10.45am on Tuesday 20th April 2021.