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World Snooker Championship Qualifiers 2020 Day Seven preview and order of play: First Crucible places up for grabs

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Field of players confirmed for 2020 World Snooker Championship

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World Snooker Championship Qualifiers 2020 Day Eight preview and order of play: Crucible field set to be completed

China’s Liang Wenbo in action (Photo by PA Images)

The first eight places in the 2020 World Snooker Championship will be decided on Monday as the fourth and final qualifying round gets underway in Sheffield.

A total of 16 coveted places are up for grabs in the £2.4 million main event alongside the top 16 seeded players from the main Order of Merit.

A field of 128 players descended on the English Institute of Sport almost a week ago, now just 32 remain in pursuit of a place at The Crucible.

At least one debutant is already guaranteed to come through Monday’s line-up, with Martin O’Donnell and Elliot Slessor competing for a slice of personal history.

World number 33 O’Donnell was a three-time ranking event quarter-finalist last season, while 25-year-old Slessor reached the Quarter-Finals of this year’s German Masters.

Slessor, who entered the qualifiers ranked outside the top 64 and in danger of dropping off the tour, has seen off Poland’s Antoni Kowalski and Leicester’s Ben Woollaston for the loss of just three frames so far.

Alan McManus, arguably the most experienced cueist left standing in the qualifiers, looks to secure a return to the sport’s spiritual home for the first time since 2016 when he faces underdog Louis Heathcote.

McManus notably rolled back the years to reach the Semi-Finals four years ago and now aims to utilise his vast experience of 30 years as a professional to end the hopes of the 23-year-old emerging talent.

Heathcote, who came through Qualifying School last year to earn a Tour Card, pulled off a sensational 6-3 scalp of Ali Carter in the last round and will be determined to pick up from where he left off.

Switzerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher aims to follow up his 6-3 upset of 2019 semi-finalist Gary Wilson in Round Three when he faces two-time Crucible qualifier Andrew Higginson.

Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham, who made his debut in 2017, looks to secure a Crucible return at the expense of Israel’s Eden Sharav – who is bidding to make an historic debut appearance.

Republic of Ireland veteran Fergal O’Brien, who is also battling to preserve his Tour Card, faces a tough test against former English Open champion Liang Wenbo.

O’Brien last appeared at The Crucible in 2017, losing 10-2 to eventual champion Mark Selby in Round One.

Liang, meanwhile, has two ranking event Quarter-Finals to his name this season and is bidding to secure a seventh Crucible appearance in the absence of a number of his Chinese compatriots.

Norway’s Kurt Maflin, whose sole World Championship appearance so far came five years ago, takes on 2019 Indian Open champion Matthew Selt.

Selt also made his most recent Crucible appearance in 2015, two years after making his debut, and will be poised for a tough test in one of the most closely-matched ties of the round.

Robert Milkins, who ended the hopes of six-time world finalist Jimmy White in the last round, looks to reach the main event for the ninth time by denying Yorkshire youngster Ashley Carty.

Carty, 25, impressed during the recent Championship League but victory here would undoubtedly signal the biggest result of his career so far.

Former German Masters champion Anthony Hamilton, who turned professional back in 1991, looks to end a 12-year wait for a World Championship berth when he meets Scott Donaldson.

Donaldson won the internet-streamed version of the Championship League earlier this year and is also a two-time ranking semi-finalist looking to make his second successive Crucible appearance.

The action gets underway from 1pm BST for a total of nine frames, before matches are played to a finish over the best of 19 from 7pm.


World Snooker Championship Qualifiers 2020 Schedule

Monday July 27

Fourth Round

1pm & 7pm
Alexander Ursenbacher v Andrew Higginson
Martin O’Donnell v Elliot Slessor
Noppon Saengkham v Eden Sharav
Anthony Hamilton v Scott Donaldson
Ashley Carty v Robert Milkins
Matthew Selt v Kurt Maflin
Fergal O’Brien v Liang Wenbo
Alan McManus v Louis Heathcote

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