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Features, Ranking, World Championship

Seeds slaughter – what’s the record for first round losers at the World Snooker Championship?

Only three out of the 17 days at the 2024 World Snooker Championship have been completed, but five seeds have already bowed out in Sheffield.

Mark Selby and Gary Wilson were added to the eliminated list of top-16 members on Monday at the Crucible Theatre.

Selby, a four-time world champion and the finalist a year ago, was downed 10-6 by debutant Joe O’Connor.

It has sparked murmurs of a potential early retirement from the out-of-form Englishman, who has said he will have to discuss his options with his family in the weeks ahead.

Wilson, meanwhile, couldn’t recover from an error-strewn start against Stuart Bingham – eventually suffering a 10-5 reverse.

This season’s Scottish and Welsh Open champion had been hyped as a potential dark horse to challenge this year.

But hopes of that quickly faded when a series of inexplicable misses saw Wilson lose the opening four frames, and he could never get back on even terms with the 2015 world champion.

Over the weekend, reigning champion Luca Brecel, Masters finalist Ali Carter, and International Championship winner Zhang Anda also exited the competition.

The only seeds from the top 16 in the world rankings list who have safely advanced to the second round so far are Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy, and Tom Ford.

At their halfway points, sixth seed Mark Williams and 16th seed Robert Milkins are currently in the heat of tough battles with their respective opponents from the qualifiers.

Williams orchestrated a narrow 5-4 overnight advantage over 2023 semi-finalist Si Jiahui, while Milkins trails Pang Junxu by the same margin.

The strong performances from the qualifiers has increased the possibility that a record number from the preliminary rounds could feature in the last 16.

The worst edition of a World Snooker Championship for the seeds since the tournament became a 32-strong field in 1982 was a decade later in 1992.

On that occasion, half of the top 16 failed to negotiate their initial hurdles in the event – including six-time world champion Steve Davis.

The record was matched 20 years later when the likes of Mark Selby, Ding Junhui, and Mark Allen were beaten in round one.

World Snooker Championship

Number of top 16 seeds who have lost in the first round

*Stat includes every year since 1982, when the tournament increased to 32 players.*

1983 and 1993

1985, 1990, 1996, 2009, and 2021

1994, 1995, 2015, 2017, and 2022

1984, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2010, 2019, and 2023

1997, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2011, 2014, and 2020

1982, 1987, 1989, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2013, and 2018


1992, 2012

Contrast that with 1983 and 1993 when only one qualifier managed to upset the odds by defeating a seed at the venue stages.

Jimmy White was the unfortunate loser in 1983, edged out by boyhood pal Tony Meo, while Alain Robidoux lost to Doug Mountjoy in the first round ten years later.

On average, about 4.3 seeds have lost in the round of 32 – a figure that has already been surpassed in 2024 with eight more matches yet to be completed.

The most common number of top-16 seeds to lose at this early stage is four, which has happened 11 times since 1982.

Will the record of eight be broken this year?

If it is surpassed, it would mark the first time that more qualifiers than seeds participate in the last 16, which would be quite something.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Allen, Ding Junhui, and John Higgins are among the seeds who still have to play their round one games at the 2024 World Snooker Championship.

2024 World Snooker Championship Draw

Round 1 (bo19)

Luca Brecel (1) 9-10 David Gilbert
Robert Milkins (16) 10-9 Pang Junxu
Ali Carter (9) 7-10 Stephen Maguire
Shaun Murphy (8) 10-5 Lyu Haotian

Mark Selby (5) 6-10 Joe O’Connor
Kyren Wilson (12) 10-1 Dominic Dale
John Higgins (13) 10-6 Jamie Jones
Mark Allen (4) 10-6 Robbie Williams

Judd Trump (3) 10-5 Hossein Vafaei
Tom Ford (14) 10-6 Ricky Walden
Zhang Anda (11) 4-10 Jak Jones
Mark Williams (6) 9-10 Si Jiahui

Ding Junhui (7) 9-10 Jack Lisowski
Gary Wilson (10) 5-10 Stuart Bingham
Barry Hawkins (15) 8-10 Ryan Day
Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) 10-1 Jackson Page

Round 2 (bo25)

David Gilbert 13-4 Robert Milkins (16)
Stephen Maguire 13-9 Shaun Murphy (8)

Joe O’Connor 6-13 Kyren Wilson (12)
John Higgins (13) 13-12 Mark Allen (4)

Judd Trump (3) 13-7 Tom Ford (14)
Jak Jones 13-9 Si Jiahui

Jack Lisowski 11-13 Stuart Bingham
Ryan Day 7-13 Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)

Quarter-Finals (bo25)

David Gilbert 13-8 Stephen Maguire
Kyren Wilson (12) 13-8 John Higgins (13)

Judd Trump (3) 9-13 Jak Jones
Stuart Bingham 13-10 Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)

Semi-Finals (bo33)

David Gilbert 11-17 Kyren Wilson (12)
Jak Jones 17-12 Stuart Bingham

Final (bo35)

Kyren Wilson (12) 18-14 Jak Jones

Click here for the latest live scores and session times.

Featured photo credit: WST

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