Top 16 ready for Crucible test

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The top 16 seeds for snooker’s greatest tournament, the Betfred.com World Championship, have now been sorted.

The seeding cut-off point for the sport’s blue riband event at the Crucible, Sheffield, fell after the Welsh Open, which was won by city-based Ding Junhui.

It runs from April 21 to May 7 and the top 16, who qualify automatically, will be joined by the 16 players who come through the qualifying rounds, which will be staged at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield from April 5-15.

World Snooker Chairman Barry Hearn said: “The line up of 16 seeds is unbelievably strong. John Higgins won his fourth World title last year and he’s aiming to become the first player to win back-to-back at the Crucible since Stephen Hendry in 1996. There are so many great players now that he faces a massive test.

“The Championship will put Sheffield in the spotlight on a global scale, watched by hundreds of millions of fans around the world and we’ve already had the biggest demand for tickets in the history of the tournament.”

The full line up in draw order is (all v qualifiers):

John Higgins (Saturday, April 21 10am and 7pm), Stuart Bingham (April 21 2.30pm and April 22 7pm), Graeme Dott (April 24 2.30pm and April 25 10am), Stephen Maguire (April 22 10am and April 23 10am), Shaun Murphy (April 22 2.30pm and April 23 2.30pm), Stephen Lee (April 23 7pm and April 24 7pm), Ali Carter (April 25 7pm and April 26 1pm).

Judd Trump (April 24 10am and April 25 2.30pm), Mark Williams (April 25 2.30pm and April 26 7pm), Ronnie O’Sullivan (April 23 2.30pm and April 24 2.30pm), Martin Gould (April 21 10am and April 22 10am), Neil Robertson (April 21 2.30pm and April 22 7pm), Ding Junhui v (April 24 10am and April 25 10am), Mark Allen (April 21 7pm and April 22 2.30pm), Matthew Stevens (April 23 10am and 7pm), Mark Selby (April 24 7pm and April 25 7pm).

For tickets call 0844 6565 147 or visit sheffieldtheatres.co.uk

The qualifying rounds also promise some top draw action, with legends like Jimmy White, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Ken Doherty battling for a place at the Crucible. Tickets are on sale – to book call 0114 256 5567 or visit www.arenaticketshop.co.uk