How Has The 2023 World Snooker Championship Home – Who Is Still In It To Win It?

By Ian John
April 27, 2023

The 2023 World Snooker Championship broke off almost two weeks ago with the 16 first round games and since then, we have seen more than our usual amount of drama, incident, excitement and a fair few shocks too.

And not all of those surprises have been snooker-related!

However, after 28 exciting matches being played to completion since the tournament began, we are now down to the two semi-finals.

This is also the point at which the two tables at the Crucible Theatre are pared down to just the one as the single-table format kicks in to play.

That always makes the auditorium seem massive, not just in size, but in scope too as players realise that they are just two wins away from being crowned the new 2023 World Snooker Champion.

Only one of the four players remaining in the tournament has tasted success in this tournament previously and the bet365 Sport pre-tournament favourite for the event, Ronnie O’Sullivan, is not one of them after he was surprisingly eliminated in a dramatic quarterfinal.

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Let’s now recap the tournament from the beginning of the first round to track how the four players remaining in the event made it through to the final.

All odds shown in this article were correct with bet365 Sport at the time of writing, but may change in the meantime.

Furthermore, the seeds ranking for the tournament are shown in brackets.

First Round (Best of 19 Frames)

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) 10-7 Pang Junxu
  • Ding Junhui (16) 6-10 Hossein Vafaei
  • Luca Brecel (9) 10-9 Ricky Walden
  • Mark Williams (8) 10-5 Jimmy Robertson
  • Judd Trump (5) 6-10 Anthony McGill
  • Jack Lisowski (12) 10-7 Noppon Saengkham
  • Robert Milkins (13) 10-9 Joe Perry
  • Shaun Murphy (4) 9-10 Si Jiahui
  • Mark Allen (3) 10-5 Fan Zhengyi
  • Stuart Bingham (14) 10-4 David Gilbert
  • Ali Carter (11) 6-10 Jak Jones
  • Neil Robertson (6) 10-3 Wu Yize
  • Kyren Wilson (7) 10-5 Ryan Day
  • John Higgins (10) 10-3 David Grace
  • Gary Wilson (15) 10-8 Elliot Slessor
  • Mark Selby (2) 10-8 Matthew Selt

The first round saw plenty of shocks, not least when Just Stop Oil protestors stormed the table, one of whom emptied orange pain powder all over the table during the Milkins v Perry game, while another was stopped by the referee from glueing herself to the table.

We also saw shocks aplenty on the table too with fourth and fifth seeds Shaun Murphy and Judd Trump being eliminated at the first stage by Si Jiahui and Anthony McGill respectively.

Other seeds to bite the dust were Ding Junhii (16) who lost to Hossain Vafaei, while Jak Jones continued his good form with a 10-6 win over 11th seed Ali Carter.

One of the highlights of the opening round was Kyren Wilson’s 147 break against Ryan Day, Wilson becoming the 9th player to compile a maximum at the Crucible in the process.

Second Round – Best of 25 Frames

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) 13-2 Hossein Vafaei
  • Luca Brecel (9) 13-11 Mark Williams (8)
  • Anthony McGill 13-8 Jack Lisowski (12)
  • Robert Milkins (13) 7-13 Si Jiahui
  • Mark Allen (3) 13-4 Stuart Bingham (14)
  • Jak Jones 13-7 Neil Robertson (6)
  • Kyren Wilson (7) 2-13 John Higgins (10)
  • Gary Wilson (15) 7-13 Mark Selby (2)

Hossain Vafaei’s attempts to rattle Ronnie O’Sullivan failed dismally as the Rocket ran out a 13-2 winner and the closest second round game saw Luca Brecel edge out Mark Williams 13-11 in a high quality encounter.

Mark Allen and John Higgins made easy progress with dominating wins over Stuart Bingham and Kyren Wilson respectively, qhile qualifiers Anthony McGill, Jak Jones and Si Jiahui, making his debut at the Crucible all progressed against seeded opponents.

Finally Mark Selby continued his sedate progress through the tournament with a comfortable win over Gary Wilson.

Quarter Finals – Best of 25 Frames

  • Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) 10-13 Luca Brecel (9)
  • Anthony McGill 12-13 Si Jiahui
  • Mark Allen (3) 13-10 Jak Jones
  • John Higgins (10) 7-13 Mark Selby (2)

Si Jiahui stunned the world with a last frame win over Anthony McGill, becoming the first player to reach the semifinals on his debut at the Crucible since 1995.

But the best performance in the quarter finals saw Luca Brecel win seven frames in a row to come from 10-6 down to beat the top seed Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first quarter final, while Mark Selby and Mark Allen proved the seedings committee right by reaching the semi’s in the bottom half of the draw.

Semi Finals Preview – Best of 33 Frames

Luca Brecel (9) v Si Jiahui

Luca Brecel produced one of the sessions for the ages when coming back from 10-6 down against Ronnie O’Sullivan in his semi final, he now faces the lowest ranked player still in the tournament and the first player to reach the semi finals of the tournament on his debut at the Crucible since Andy Hicks in 1995, Si Jiahui.

The 20-year-old Chinese star has had a fantastic tournament including two last frame wins but I think that he will be up against it here in a much longer format and against a player hugely confident and bang in form.

The two players have never met previously, making this a first for both players on the biggest stage of all.

Semi Final 1 Tip – A very interesting semi final, but I think Brecel’s extra experience will count here so take the Belgian at 2/5.

Mark Allen (3) v (2) Mark Selby

If the top half of the draw saw shocks aplenty, the seedings were bang on in the bottom half as the number 2 and 3 ranked players in the tournamcne clash in the semifinal.

Allen has had the best form this season, but Selby is a previous four-time World Champion and that experience, plus his matchplay skill and ability to keep himself in games even when he is not playing well, will likely be crucial here.

The two have met 22 times, winning 11 games each and even in frames it is close, with Allen winning 97 to Selby’s 93. They last met in the British Open in 2022 when Allen won 5-3. This could be a very close one indeed and I’m not ruling out a deciding frame winner here, but my money will be going on the Jester from Leicester.

Semi Final 2 Tip – Most people think the winner of the World Championship will come from this semi-final and I tend to agree, it should be a close one but I am going for Selby to sneak it at 8/15.

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