World Grand Prix
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Race to the World Grand Prix

The German Masters gets under way on Wednesday – the last counting event before the final places for the World Grand Prix are determined.

World Grand Prix
The World Grand Prix was won by Ronnie O’Sullivan last year.

Next week’s World Grand Prix in Cheltenham will boast the top 32 money-earners from the circuit so far this season.

It represents the first tournament of three in a lucrative new series known as the Coral Cup.

The World Grand Prix will be quickly followed by the 16-man Players Championship and a prestigious Tour Championship, that will feature only the top eight competitors on the one-year list.

All three events are set to be staged on ITV, which has done a lot in recent seasons to re-establish itself as a major broadcasting player in snooker alongside the BBC and Eurosport.

Judd Trump, recently a major champion again after triumphing in the Masters at Ally Pally, said: “All of the top players enjoy playing in these ITV events.”

“They have really taken off because the fields are very strong, they are tough to win, similar to the Masters in a way.”

“Cheltenham is close to where I come from so it’s a tournament that I want to do well in.

“I’ll have a few friends and family up from Bristol and hopefully some local support as well.

“I’ve never been to the venue but Jack Lisowski has told me it’s a lovely place.”

The top prizes at the three Coral Cup events will be £100,000, £125,000, and £150,000 respectively, and any player able to capture all three titles will have his total rounded up from £375,000 to £500,000.

Finally, the player earning the most overall prize money across the three events will receive the inaugural Coral Cup.

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Most of the marquee names have already assured their spots in the World Grand Prix that begins on Monday.

Mark Allen, a winner of two ranking titles during this campaign already, and the player who pipped him to UK Championship glory in December, Ronnie O’Sullivan, are at the top of the one-year standings.

The pair has chosen to skip this week’s action at the Tempodrom but it won’t effect their spots at the Cheltenham Racecourse.

Indeed, each member of the top 16 in the official world rankings currently looks set to be involved in the Coral Cup series aside from Luca Brecel, whose chances were blown when he failed to qualify for Berlin.

That said, Ding Junhui (28th) and Shaun Murphy (=30th) are two players who will need to be slightly careful over the next few days in order to guarantee their World Grand Prix tickets.

Murphy is tied on points with Hong Kong’s Marco Fu, who will be watching nervously from home to see if he can squeeze in after also missing out on reaching the German Masters.

For Gary Wilson in 32nd place, a couple of victories for either Zhou Yuelong or Robert Milkins would result in the Englishman being dislodged from the final position after he too exited at the German Masters preliminaries.

With £80,000 on offer for the champion at the Tempodrom, there’s an opportunity for all twelve players who have qualified and are presently outside the top 32 in the one-year money list.

Ricky Walden could force his way into contention with a run to the last four, although the three-time ranking event winner faces Mark Selby in his opening encounter.

A semi-final appearance might also prove to be enough for Peter Ebdon, meanwhile, with the 2002 world champion set for an intriguing clash with Murphy on the opening night in the German capital city.

However, aside from O’Sullivan, Allen, and Brecel, the German Masters line-up is a high-quality one and it’ll be difficult for any of the chasing pack to force their way into contention at this late stage.

Click here to view the Race to the World Grand Prix rankings

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Judd Trump Wins German Masters Opener - SnookerHQ

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