The seasons first ranking event The Wuxi Classic reaches the last 16 stage on Thursday and it's very much a case of spot the seed after the carnage that was the round of 32.
I suppose maybe we should not be that surprised.This is after all only June and whereas the top seeds are playing under tournament conditions for the first time this season the players who have qualified have come in match fit after after two weeks of qualifiers for this and the Australian Open.
So who have fallen? Well starting Matthew Stevens was a late withdrawl following a back injury which saw Joe Perry getting a walkover.Moving onto Tuesday we lost 4 seeds. First to go was Neil Robertson losing 5-1 to Jamie Burnett.He was followed through the exit door by Ding Junhui who again failed to produce his best form on homesoil losing 5-2 to Mark Davis..the other two to fall were world runner up Ali Carter going down 5-3 to Fergal O Brien and Martin Gould exiting at the hands of Jamie Cope.also by a scoreline of 5-3.
On to today and another 4 seeds were to bite the dust.
The afternoons battle of the former world champions saw Irish veteran and 1997 world champ Ken Doherty produce some fine snooker in beating 2005 winner Shaun Murphy 5-1.Doherty was joined in the qualifiers winners circle by Robert Mikins who completed a 5-3 win over Andrew Higginson.
Coming into this season perhaps the form players of 2012 to date were Stephen Lee and Stephen Maguire. but in the evening session both were to fall to opening match defeats.Lee was comprehensively seen off 5-1 by Marcus Campbell.The Maguire match with Rod Lawler was to have a bit of everything..Lawler looked set to keep his fine early season form continue as he led 4-2 but Maguire fought back to level at 4-4.He then got in first in the last only to miss and Lawler kept his nerve to win with a fine 76 break.Of all the stories so far this season so far his is undoubtedly the most extraordinary.Having dropped off the tour Lawler had to go through Q school to regain his place and has carried that form forward through the qualifiers.
Well thats the vanquished taken care off so who have we left?
In contrast to the trouble of others we have seen some convincing wins by some of the seeds..Mark Allen put his recent controversies behind him with a convincing 5-1 win over Ruzi Maimaiti.he vowed afterwards to let his snooker do the talking so lets hope last seasons World Open winner sticks to his word..Mark Williams who has a better record in this part of the world then anyone else also started strongly with a 5-0 win over Tom Ford a score replicated by Ricky Walden in his win over Zhu Yinghui.Stuart Bingham kept his fine recent form going with a hard fought 5-4 victory over Peter Ebdon.There was also a confidence building 5-1 win for Graeme Dott over.Zhou Yuelong.
In the other matches world no.1 Mark Selby who claims to be back to 90% fitness following his recent neck injury looked in good form recording a 5-2 win over his Crucible conqueror Barry Hawkins and by perhaps playing the best snooker of anyone in the tournament to date Judd Trump saw off Dominic Dale in a ruthless manner winning in a scoreline of 5-1.
So into the last 16 we go and really it's anyones guess which one of these player will lift the seasons first ranking trophy.