Certain sports events are synonymous with different times of the year and when it comes to the early May bank holiday in the United Kingdom, the event that most people will think about will be the World Snooker Championship Final.

Before we reach that stage though, we have a hugely competitive tournament to play through in the couple of weeks beforehand. That tournament began at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, the home of the World Championships for many years, on Saturday. That after an extensive qualifying campaign to discover the players that would join the 16 seeds in the First Round proper.

With a prize pool of £2,395,000 up for grabs, and a top prize of £500,000 for the winner, the tournament is played over the longest format of the season, with first round games played over the best of 19, second round and quarterfinal games over the best of 25, semi finals over the best of 33 and the final the best of 35.

Stamina as well as skill therefore is needed to become the World Snooker Champion and that is why it is the toughest test of the season for all the top professionals that earn a chance to compete in Sheffield.

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Let’s now quickly review the first round results that have been finalised so far in Sheffield.

World Snooker Championship First 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

First Round Games In Progress

  • John Higgins (5) 3-4 Tian Pengfei
  • Anthony McGill (16) 5-4 Rick Walden

Remaining First Round Games

  • Kyren Wilson (6) v Gary Wilson
  • Ding Junhui (9) v Stuart Bingham
  • Jack Lisowski (14) v Ali Carter
  • 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

As is always the case with the World Championship, the draw is seeded, which means that we know, for example, that the top seed, Ronnie O’Sullivan will play either 16th seed Anthony McHill or Ricky Walden in the Second Round. Should Judd Trump win his second round game, then he will face 15th seed David Gilbert, who has already won his match, and so on throughout the draw.

Maguire Defeat Tops The Shock Results So Far. Could There Be More?

Stephen Maguire’s 10-4 defeat to Welshman Jamie Jones is the surprise result of the tournament so far, but could there be some even bigger shocks further down the line in the first round?

Well John Higgins was 4-1 down in his game to China’s Tian Pengfei, but managed to win the last two frames to turn that into a 4-3 deficit before their match was called off early. The Scot will need to play considerably better in their second session to make it through.

Ding Junhui has a very tough draw against a former World Champion in Stuart Bingham, who has been in good form of late, while Jack Lisowski also faces a tough test against another grizzled veteran of the World Championships in Ali Carter.

Those games seem the most likely to me to see another First Round upset, but by and large I do feel that the seeded players should, for the most part, make it into the second round of the competition.

Who Are The Favourites To Win The Championship?

Ronnie O’Sullivan (4/1)

  • World Championship Wins – 6 – 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2020
  • Ranking Event Wins – 37
  • Current Ranking – 2
  • Tournament Ranking – 1

Ronnie O’Sullivan is the greatest player in the history of the game in terms of pure talent alone. His peers regard him as a genius at the table and his six world titles are a testament to that, although ther are those who claim he should have had many more. He has one win to his name this season, the Premier League, but it is the World Title that he truly covets and if he can play to his best then there are few players that can live with him at the Crucible.

Judd Trump (11/4 favourite)

  • World Championship Wins – 1 – 2019
  • Ranking Event Wins – 22
  • Current Ranking – 1
  • Tournament Ranking – 2

Without doubt Judd Trump is the most consistent player in the world at the moment. Always a precociously talented player, and the natural successor to Ronnie O’Sullivan, Trump has now combined his flair for shots and natural ability with a degree of consistency that has made him untouchable as the World Number one. Five wins this season and two other final appearances have marked him out as THE man to beat in the Championships over the next fortnight or so.

Neil Robertson (4/1)

  • World Championship Wins – 1 – 2010
  • Ranking Event Wins – 20
  • Current Ranking – 3
  • Tournament Ranking – 3

If being in form heading into a tournament is important, then the man to watch in Sheffield this week is Australian former World Champion, Neil Robertson. Sporting a new permed hairdo, the Aussie came through a tough First Round game against Liang Wenbo with ease and continued the excellent form he had coming into this event. On his day capable of beating anybody and one of the best break builders in the world, he is another player I’d bet on to reach the semifinals this week.

Who Makes The Semi Finals And Eventually Wins It?

Given that Ronnie O’Sullivan is on one side of the draw and Judd Trump and Neil Robertson are on the other, my money is on Trump v Robertson being one semi final, but the other could be more difficult to predict.

I of course feel O’Sullivan will make it but this is the part of the draw which I feel could see a few shocks (and which already has with Maguire’s defeat). As such, I think someone like Mark Williams or even Stuart Bingham could be the surprise other semifinalists here.

As for the final, I think the world would love to see a Trump v O’Sullivan final and I think that this could well be on the cards this year and if it does go that far, then I think Trump’s greater consistency would probably just about give him the edge.