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Thursday, 16 April 2015

World Championship 2015 Preview

After a season of, mixed results for some of our biggest stars,the return to the winners circle for an all tine great,and two new members of the ranking titles club the eyes of the snooker world once again focus on the Crucible for 17 days of drama on the baize.

So who will claim the title.Well I suppose there is only place to start and that is with our defending champion Mark Selby. Its been a strange old season for Selby.He really seemed to struggle in the early part of it,but victories in both the German Masters & the China Open will have him coming here with every confidence he can be the first first time returning champion to retain the title.The thing for me though is,even in those two tournaments he won,Selby did not play brilliantly the whole way through.Now there is an argument that  this is just the Selby way and what makes him unique is his ability to still dig out the victories,but I'm not sure you can win a world title depending so heavily on your " B"game,so for that reason I don't see him being the man to break the "Crucible Curse"

What then of the man he beat in last years final,.the five time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan? On the face of its it hasn't been a bad season for Ronnie as he claimed a second Champion of Champions title and  fifth UK Championship with thrilling victories over Judd Trump in both,but there have been signs since the turn of the year that all is not well with "The Rocket".On several occasions he has seemed quite angry.most noticeably at the Welsh Open and he also withdrew from the recent China Open apparently due to the return of the glandular fever that laid him low a few years back.It has also been recently reported that he has cut down n his sessions with Dr Steve Peters,but I understand they have resumed in the last few weeks.

So we're back to the eternal question,Which Ronnie will show up in Sheffield next week? Well I have no doubt that had he won a sixth title last season that Ronnie would be collecting his seventh come May 4th,but with that defeat and everything that has come since he may well be a a little vulnerable here.That said though,the draw has been kind enough to him and if he is anywhere near his best he really shouldn't have much trouble until at least the semi finals.What happens from there is anyones guess.

That brings us Ronnies potential semi final final opponent Judd Trump.These two have met this season in three epic finals,with Judd finally getting the better of things in the recent World Grand Prix. When Judd burst into everyones living rooms with his swashbuckling run to the final in 2011 comparisons were been immediately been made with the games other great crowd pleasers,but up to this year I had always seen him as more of a "White" than an "O'Sullivan".What we have seen recently though has forced me to revise my opinion a little as he has shown when in the mood that he also possesses a strong safety game.Bearing all this in mind he may well give this championship a good run this year.

Hoping to put an indifferent season behind him here will be 2010 champ, Neil Robertson.It seems a long time ago since Robertson won the first ranking title of the season taking the Wuxi Classic and although he did a PTC in Poland and reached a couple more finals he has largely struggled for the consistency we've come to expect from the Aussie..The one plus for him here is a kind enough quarter of the draw and it may allow him time to play himself into the tournament.

Also hoping to find something in Sheffield will be Ding Junhui,who after a record breaking season last time around has had an awful time of it over the last twelve months.He show signs of a return to form in China the other week,but he has been handed a very tough first round opponent in Mark Davis and even were he to win that he is in a very tough quarter of the draw.All in all I don't see this as the year of the first Chinese World Champion.

Of the others worth mentioning there are a few players who would need a strong tail wind to lift the title,like former champion Shaun Murphy who played superbly to lift the Masters in January,but would need to,at the very least,rediscover the form he showed for that fortnight in 2005 to be troubling the engraver this time. You can also throw into that category former winners John Higgins & Mark Williams,both have shown glimpses of their very best form in the last few months,but I just don't think at this stage either man still has the game  to add to their totals.

There are others there of course who will be thinking that this is the year that they will be adding their name the the Crucible roll of honour,but I would be majorly shocked if the winner came from outside any of the names mentioned above.

As for who I think will win it? I believe this may be Trumps year.

Recommended bets 
Judd Trump to win the title : 6/1
Value First Round Lucky 15: Graeme Dott (8/5) Anthony McGill (11/4) Ryan Day (2/1) Mark Davis (9/4)

First Round Draw
Mark Selby v Kurt Maflin
Stephen Maguire v Anthony McGill
Joe Perry v Zhang Anda
Shaun Murphy v Robin Hull
Barry Hawkins v Matt Selt
Mark Allen v Ryan Day
Ali Carter v Alan McManus
Neil Robertson v Jamie Jones
Ding Junhui v Mark Davis
John Higgins v Robert Milkins
Marco Fu v Jimmy Robertson
Judd Trump v Stuart Carrington
Ricky Walden v Graeme Dott
Stuart Bingham v Robbie Williams
Mark Williams v Matthew Stevens
Ronnie O'Sullivan v Craig Steadman


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