Two-time champion Mark Williams came agonisingly close to automatically qualifying for the World Snooker Championship, losing 10-8 to Mark Selby in the recent China Open final. The Welshman faces a tricky opener against Chinese potter Zhao Xintong before potential matches against Liam Highfield and Andrew Higginson. Not the toughest section of the draw, but both Carrington and Higginson have played at the Crucible before and could cause an upset.
Another notable absentee from the main draw is former world championship semifinalist Joe Perry who despite reaching the final of The Masters, was unable to progress further than a quarter-final in the 2017 ranking events.
On paper Perry has an easy section of the draw, especially starting off against amateur Zach Richardson, however he could face either Mark Joyce or David Grace in the final qualifying match. Joyce recently defeated Ronnie O'Sullivan in the China Open so potentially a tricky tie for the Gentleman.
1997 champion Ken Doherty finds himself in a tough group featuring capable English pros Ben Woollaston and Ian Burns, as well a banana skin opener against Jason Weston. A tough group to qualify for the popular Irishman, but he's often showed he prefers the longer format matches, especially these best-of-19s.
Another former world champion Graeme Dott also has a challenging group to qualify. He first faces the extremely capable Allan Taylor, before coming up against Crucible favourite Dechawat Poomjaeng or Chen Zhe, before a potential final round match against Alfie Burden or former worlds quarterfinalist Jamie Jones. Dott is definitely not the favourite in this section, and it's tough to see him making it through based on recent form.
Other players to look out for this week include Robbie Williams who has reached the Crucible two years in a row since the qualifieirs were moved to Ponds Forge, Anthony Hamilton who won the first ranking title of his 26-year career at the German Masters last February, and Iran's Hossein Vafaei who beat five players ranked above him, including Perry and Judd Trump on route to the China Open semifinals last week.
Six-time finalist Jimmy White picked up some good wins on tour this season, at the age of 54 and 93rd in the world rankings he faces potentially his last decent chance to qualify for the final stages of the world championship for the 26th time.
Unfortunately for fan-favourite Jimmy, he has a stinker of a section which pairs him up against Jack Lisowski in his opening match, before potential encounters against 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon and experienced tour players Michael Holt and Jamie Cope. As much as I would love to see the Whirlwind storm through the qualifiers, it's tough to imagine he'll make it through three tough matches in a row.
Lastly it's great to see the two most recent women's world championship winners Ng On Yee and Reanne Evans competing in the qualifiers this year. Unfortunately they've been handed tough openers against the experienced pair of Nigel Bond and Robin Hull respectively, so it's hard to see them becoming the first women to qualify for the main stages, however stranger things have happend in the World Snooker Championship qualifiers!
For all results and scores from the World Snooker Championship 2017, head to Snooker.org.
World Snooker Championship 2017 - Qualifying Draw
Mark Williams vs Zhao Xintong
Liam Highfield vs Andres Petrov (a)
Stuart Carrington vs Alex Borg
Andrew Higginson vs Michael Georgiou
Tom Ford vs Jamie Bodle (a)
Chris Wakelin vs Elliot Slessor
Matt Selt vs David John
Hossein Vafaei vs Hatem Yassin
Robin Hull vs Reanne Evans (a)
Matthew Stevens vs Lee Walker
Noppon Saengkham vs Jak Jones
Anthony Hamilton vs Craig Steadman
Li Hang vs Fraser Patrick
Mike Dunn vs Andy Hicks (a)
Nigel Bond vs Ng On Yee (a)
Stephen Maguire vs Kritsanut Lertsattayatthorn
Mark King vs Paul Davison
Zhang Anda vs Fang Xiongman
Xiao Guodong vs Tyler Rees (a)
Sam Baird vs Ross Vallance (a)
Ben Woollaston vs Chris Totten (a)
Ken Doherty vs Jason Weston
Ghou Yulonge vs Christopher Keogan
Ian Burns vs Ian Preece
Alfie Burden vs Adam Duffy
Jamie Jones vs Jamie Barrett
Dechawat Poomjaeng vs Chen Zhe
Graeme Dott vs Allan Taylor
Tian Pengfei vs Zhang Yong
Fergal O’Brien vs Gerard Greene (a)
Rhys Clark vs Wayne Townsend (a)
Dave Gilbert w/o Patrick Wallace (a) *Wallace withdrew from the event*
Joe Perry vs Zack Richardson (a)
Mei Xiwen vs Akani Songermsawad
Mark Joyce vs Jordan Brown (a)
David Grace vs Thor Chuan Leong
Luca Brecel vs Sean O’Sullivan
Joe Swail vs Sanderson Lam
Dominic Dale vs Boonyarit Kaettikun
Daniel Wells vs Adam Stefanow (a)
Gary Wilson vs Josh Boileau
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh vs Peter Lines (a)
Ross Muir vs Gareth Allen
Michael White vs Aditya Mehta
Rory McLeod vs Darryl Hill
Kurt Maflin vs Sydney Wilson
Martin O’Donnell vs Jackson Page (a)
Ricky Walden vs Hammad Miah
Michael Holt vs Hamza Akbar
Jamie Cope vs Eden Sharav
Peter Ebdon vs Michael Wild
Jack Lisowski vs Jimmy White
Alan McManus vs Kurt Dunham
Rod Lawler vs Xu Si (a)
Jimmy Robertson vs Cao Yupeng
Oliver Lines vs Duane Jones
Yan Bingtao vs Sam Craigie
Mark Davis vs Mitchell Mann
Scott Donaldson vs Wang Yuchen
Robert Milkins vs Alexander Ursenbacher (a)
Robbie Williams vs James Cahill
Yu Delu vs Itaro Santos
John Astley vs Igor Figueiredo
Martin Gould vs James Wattana