The top 16 players who will automatically qualify for the 2022 World Snooker Championship are now known.
All eight participants in the upcoming Tour Championship are currently positioned inside the elite bracket on the provisional Race to the Crucible standings.
It means that, with no further ranking tournaments between now and Sheffield, there are no more opportunities for those in the chasing pack to make a move.
There were several players who could have challenged for top 16 places with success in the recent Gibraltar Open.
Ricky Walden came the closest to upsetting the order, and the Englishman would have denied Yan Bingtao an automatic berth in Sheffield had he emerged with the title at the Europa Point Sports Complex.
However, the 39 year-old agonisingly missed out in a tight semi-final encounter with Kyren Wilson that was settled in a decider.
Yan will count himself very lucky considering his strange decision to not even enter the Gibraltar Open.
While the 16 players are confirmed, the specific seeding positions could still change depending on the results in the Tour Championship.
Mark Selby is definitely going to be the number one seed as the defending world champion.
Ronnie O’Sullivan, who will replace Selby as the official world number one after the Tour Championship, will be the second seed, pitting the old rivals on opposite sides of the draw.
Wilson, who subsequently lost in the final of the Gibraltar Open, can’t be caught as the fifth seed while Yan is assured of being the 16th seed.
All of the other spots are yet to be set in stone, however, with big ranking prize money still to be earned at the Venue Cymru over the coming days.
The remaining competitors on the Main Tour ranked outside the top 16 will have to make do with the qualifiers if they are to reach this year’s World Snooker Championship.
As usual, an additional 16 slots in the draw will be up for grabs when the preliminary tournament takes place at the English Institute of Sport early next month.
Provisional World Championship Seeding Positions
(Players still in the Tour Championship in RED)
Featured photo credit: WST