The qualifying rounds have almost reached a conclusion.
Judgement Day has arrived at the World Snooker Championship qualifying stages, with the last round of preliminaries already under way at the English Institute of Sport.
The first eight qualifiers were determined on Tuesday with Kurt Maflin, Liang Wenbo, Matthew Selt, Mark Davis, Liam Highfield, Tian Pengfei, Lyu Haotian, and Jamie Jones all sealing their Crucible spots.
But of course Judgement Day lasts for two days in total, and the remaining eight fixtures in the dramatic snooker qualifiers are scheduled for Wednesday in Sheffield.
Let’s take a brief look at who will be involved in those encounters with a precious ticket to the venue stages of the World Championship at stake for the winner.
Snooker Draw for Judgement Day 2
All matches are the best of 19 frames. Session 1 – Wednesday, 11am; Session 2 – Wednesday, 5pm.
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Igor Figueiredo vs Mark Joyce
Igor Figueiredo hadn’t even played on a full-sized snooker table a decade ago, but the charismatic 43 year-old is now just one victory away from becoming the first South American player represented at the Crucible.
Journeyman Mark Joyce, a former ranking event runner-up, is also bidding to make a debut appearance at snooker’s famous venue after beating Anthony Hamilton in the penultimate round.
Ryan Day vs Ricky Walden
There are a couple of heavyweight snooker battles in Wednesday’s Judgement Day and this is definitely one of them.
Ryan Day and Ricky Walden have six ranking titles between them and have featured at the latter stages of the World Snooker Championship on several occasions, including a semi-final run from Walden in 2013.
Bai Langning vs Martin Gould
Bai accounted for Alan McManus’ long professional career when he beat the Scot in the second round, and he followed that up with a 6-5 defeat of Ben Woollaston in round three.
Standing in the Chinese teenager’s way of a first Crucible appearance is Martin Gould, who has featured in the last 32 draw ten times in the last twelve years.
Steven Hallworth vs Gary Wilson
Steven Hallworth is one of only five players who has made it this far from round one, with a highlight of a dramatic 6-5 triumph over Welsh Open winner Jordan Brown at the penultimate hurdle.
Gary Wilson memorably reached the semi-finals of the 2019 World Championship and is under some pressure to defend those ranking points or face a sharp plummet down the rankings list.
Ali Carter vs Alexander Ursenbacher
Ali Carter failed to qualify for a World Championship for the first time since 2002 when he missed out in last year’s preliminaries.
The two-time finalist will be looking to avoid a repeat occurrence but faces a tricky challenge in the form of Switzerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher, who is one victory away from making it back-to-back Crucible appearances.
Zhao Xintong vs Sam Craigie
Two from the talented young brigade in this encounter, with China’s Zhao Xintong up against England’s Sam Craigie.
Zhao knows what it takes to qualify for the last 32 having achieved the feat in 2019, a factor that could give him the slight edge in an evenly matched tie over an opponent hoping to secure his maiden visit.
To back either Zhao or Craigie to win, sports betting website Casumo has all the latest odds available as the qualifiers reach their climax in Sheffield.
Chris Wakelin vs Xiao Guodong
Chris Wakelin’s tour survival was in doubt prior to the start of these preliminaries, but by reaching the last qualifying round he has guaranteed himself £15,000 in prize money and a definite return to the Main Tour next season.
With the pressure off, he will look to reach the Crucible for the first time since 2018, but Xiao Guodong is a dangerous opponent who will be hoping to add to his disappointing career tally of just three World Championship appearances.
Luca Brecel vs Stuart Bingham
Arguably the tie of the entire round pits former world champion Stuart Bingham against Luca Brecel.
Both competitors will probably bemoan their luck of the draw at having to face someone so difficult, but that’s the beauty of the qualifiers, and it will be fascinating to see whether the 2015 world champion or the Belgian Bullet will come out on top.
Live coverage will be provided via the WST Facebook and YouTube channels in addition to the Eurosport Player.
Featured photo credit: WST