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World Championship 2011 - Qualifying Preview (Part 1)

World Championship 2011 - Qualifying Preview (Part 1)

Its nearly that time of year again where the players ranked 17-96 battle it out for a spot in the worlds most prestigious snooker event; the Betfred.com World Snooker Championship. The qualifying action takes place at the EIS, Sheffield.



This is the first part of my qualifying preview, the second will follow tommorow. You can watch all of these matches live at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield over the next week.

Tickets start at just £5, to book call 0114 256 5567 or visit www.arenaticketshop.co.uk


~ Kyren Wilson ~

~ Joe Swail ~ ~ Rory McLeod ~ ~ Mark Davis ~

~ Dermot McGlinchey ~

- - -

The first group sees two players that haven't had the best of seasons so far, Kyren Wilson and Dermot McGlinchey. Both have failed to impress in the PTC and in qualifiers, but Kyren has won a few more matches than Dermot and is favourite to meet Joe Swail in the next round. Joe himself upset practice partner Mark Allen in Germany last month and could be a dark horse in this group. Rory McLeod faces the winner of that match and is vastly improved this season and is on the cusp of a top 32 place. Mark Davis is the final opponent in this group and is provisionally already in the top 16, so will be hoping for a win to almost guarentee his place in the World Open and Shanghai Masters next year. Mark is favourite, but Rory or Joe could easily upset him with a strong performance. - Mark Davis to qualify.

~ Liu Song ~

~ Adrian Gunnell ~ ~ Mark Joyce ~ ~ Joe Perry ~

~ Michael Judge~

- - -

The next group sees a slightly more consistant player start, the resurgent Liu Song. He rejoined the tour after John Higgins suspension and had good results in the PTC events which means he will stay on the tour for next season. Michael Judge hasn't had such luck and now faces a mammoth task to stay on the tour, I highly rate Liu Song to win this one. Adrian Gunnell is next, a former top 32 player but is down to 56 at the moment and looking in danger, I could see Liu winning this one also. UK Championship quarter-finalist Mark Joyce is up next and is still performing well and is in the top 48 for the first time in his career he could upset the final opponent, former Crucible semi-finalist Joe Perry. Joe is down to 29th in the provisional rankings after the season from hell and could slip further here. I think Mark will take inspiration from his Telford triumph and upset the seed here. - Mark Joyce to qualify.

~ James Wattana ~

~ Andy Hicks ~ ~ Jamie Burnett ~ ~ Liang Wenbo ~
~ Justin Astley ~ - -


Twice Thailand Open champion James Wattana faces Justin Astley in the next group. James sees himself about to drop off the tour at 70th and needs at least two wins to see himself safe for 2011/2012. Justin though has failed to impress this season and will lose his place at 90th and has nothing to lose so it could be close, but the vastly experienced Wattana should be too much for him. Andy Hicks is up next, the veteran has been struggling this season and could see himself swept away by Wattana but he is a battler. Shanghai Masters runner-up Jamie Burnett is in the next round and apart from that run he has done little else this season, but it shouldn't matter anyway as the winner faces Liang Wenbo in the final round. Even though Liang saw himself drop out of the top 16 at the start of the season he always comes good this time of year and he should easily sail through to the Crucible. - Liang Wenbo to qualify.


~ Thanawat Thirapaipongboon ~

~Alfie Burden ~ ~ Mike Dunn ~ ~ Mark King ~
~ Winner of Reanne Evans/Q1 ~ - -


Impressive Thai youngster Thanawat Thirapaipongboon faces the winner of Reanne Evans and a qualifier. As good as the women's world champion is she hasn't won a match yet this season and will easily be dispatched by the Thai. He faces Alfie Burden who has had a good season also and narrowly missing out on venues on several occasions. It will be close but I expect Alfie to edge it, but Thanawat destroyed the competition in the German Masters and Shanghai qualifiers and could upset. The winner faces Twitter favourite Mike Dunn. He hasn't had the greatest of seasons but is still consistent enough to keep his top 48 place, but I could see Alfie upsetting Mike here. The final opponent is top 16 refugee Mark King. After going straight through to venues for several years he sees himself qualifying and didn't make a good job of it first time failing to qualify for the China Open. But Mark always seems to come up trumps in long matches and is firm favourite in my eyes but Burden could upset here. - Mark King to qualify.


~ James McBain ~

~ Ian McCulloch ~ ~ Michael Holt ~ ~Dominic Dale ~
~ Issara Kachaiwong ~ - -


Issara Kachaiwong reached the final round of the China Open qualifiers last week but lost to Ken Doherty. James McBain though qualified for the World Open in September but has hailed to impress since, so based on form alone I expect Issara to win. Journeyman Ian McCulloch hasn't had the greatest of seasons and sees himself down to 60th on the latest rankings, but I expect him to beat his opponent with ease. Next up is EPTC and Pink Ribbon champion Michael Holt, apart from these two wins he hasn't had much luck this season, but he should dispatch his third round opponent relatively comfortably. Dominic Dale is the final opponent and has been looking sharp this season; winning a PTC and qualifying for several venues. He hasn't qualified for the Crucible since 2005 so he will be hungry for a win here and I make him favourite but Holt stands a good chance also. - Dominic Dale to qualify.

~ Igor Figueiredo ~

~ Joe Jogia ~ ~ Robert Milkins ~ ~ Martin Gould ~
~ Joe Delaney ~ - -


Brazillian born German Igor Figueiredo is up in the next group, he faces Joe Delaney in the first round. Igor started the season well, winning quite a few matches in the PTC but started to stall once the events were over and could do with a win here to guarentee his tour spot for next year. Joe hasn't had a great season and he will most likely have to play in the Q School events to get back on, so I slightly favour Igor to progress. Joe Jogia in comparison has had a good season and even did well enough to qualify for the PTC finals in Dublin. He should win his match and will face Robert Milkins next. Robert was the runner up in the Snooker-shootout and has qualified for a few venues also and is looking sharp. He could easily upset Maximum Snooker's most improved player of 2010; Martin Gould. Martin failed to qualify for the German Masters or the Welsh Open but looked sharp in beating Mike Dunn to qualify for the China Open so goes into this favourite to qualify. - Martin Gould to qualify.


~ Liu Chuang ~

~ Jimmy White ~ ~Tom Ford ~ ~Ryan Day ~
~ Qualifier ~ - -


The Whirlwind Jimmy White is the star player in this group! But to face him Liu Chuang will have to face a qualifier. This should be no problem for Liu as he has shown his worth in the PTC events and looks to stay on the tour for another season. Jimmy should be too strong for him though as he has consistantly won matches this season, qualified for several venues and sees him up to provisionally 49th after nearly dropping off the tour last season and to top it off he is the World Seniors Champion! He faces Tom Ford next. Tom is a PTC winner this season, but hasn't shown much recently and is looking vulnerable. Either way though the winner will face Ryan Day. Ryan performed terribly at the start of the season and lost several first round PTC matches but came back and reached the last 16 of the UK Championship and the Welsh Open. He is strong favourite to qualify here but will Jimmy's fans spur him on to win at the EIS? - Ryan Day to qualify.

Posted Mar 3, 2011
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