World Grand Prix draw

World Grand Prix Draw and Preview

The conclusion of the German Masters on Sunday means that the World Grand Prix draw is finally confirmed on the eve of the event.

Cheltenham Racecourse will host a professional snooker tournament for the first time as the top 32 players on the one-year rankings list assemble for the lucrative first leg of the inaugural Coral Cup series.

The line-up had already been confirmed on Saturday when Welshman Duane Jones exited in Berlin at the semi-final hurdle.

However, the final seeding positions still hinged on the outcome of the title decider at the Tempodrom.

Kyren Wilson’s dramatic 9-7 triumph over David Gilbert means that the former leaps up the pecking order to occupy the number seven seeding and will face former UK and Masters champion Matthew Stevens in the first round.

With 32 of the most in-form players in the world at present lining up together, there was always going to be a few opening humdinger ties – and so it proved.

While there are a few notable matches that stand out up and down the World Grand Prix draw, possibly the most eye-catching is the affair between English duo Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy.

The latter’s disappointing campaign so far meant that he only just squeezed into contention in 30th place, while Selby of course is the third seed following his big-money triumph in the China Championship earlier this term.

Second seed Ronnie O’Sullivan also has a potentially tricky opener as he is paired with Hong Kong’s Marco Fu.

Fu, who missed a portion of last year’s calendar due to eye surgery, has slipped outside the world’s top 16 and is incredibly as low as 50th on the provisional end-of-season rankings.

O’Sullivan is the defending champion after his destruction of Ding Junhui in last year’s final.

The top seed, meanwhile, is Mark Allen after the Northern Irishman accumulated the most earnings up until this point following his ranking event successes in the International Championship and Scottish Open, plus his run to the final of December’s UK Championship.

Allen meets last placed qualifier Gary Wilson in the last 32 on the opening evening of play.

Elsewhere in the World Grand Prix draw, 2018 runner-up Ding meets Jack Lisowski, world champion Mark Williams entertains teenager Yuan Sijun, and recent Masters winner Judd Trump faces Stuart Carrington.

Gilbert, meanwhile, will hope to bounce back from his painful reverse in Berlin when he takes on Yan Bingtao.

World Grand Prix Draw (Last 32)

Mark Allen (1) vs Gary Wilson (32)
Ali Carter (17) vs Martin O’Donnell (16)
Jack Lisowski (9) vs Ding Junhui (24)
Yan Bingtao (25) vs David Gilbert (8)

Xiao Guodong (28) vs Neil Robertson (5)
Mark Davis (21) vs Jimmy Robertson (12)
Stephen Maguire (13) vs Mark King (20)
Mark Williams (4) vs Yuan Sijun (29)

Mark Selby (3) vs Shaun Murphy (30)
John Higgins (14) vs Noppon Saengkham (19)
Tom Ford (22) vs Joe Perry (11)
Judd Trump (6) vs Stuart Carrington (27)

Kyren Wilson (7) vs Matthew Stevens (26)
Zhao Xintong (23) vs Stuart Bingham (10)
Ryan Day (18) vs Barry Hawkins (15)
Marco Fu (31) vs Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)

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The World Grand Prix represents the first tournament of three in a lucrative new series known as the Coral Cup.

It 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.

Live coverage will be on ITV 4.

Click here to view the full World Grand Prix draw (Times: CET)

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