2017 World Snooker Championship

The 2017 World Snooker Championship (officially the 2017 Betfred World Snooker Championship) was a professional snooker tournament that took place from 15 April to 1 May 2017 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England. It was the 19th and final ranking event of the 2016–17 season. This was the 41st consecutive year that the World Snooker Championship had been held at the Crucible, marking the 40th anniversary of the first staging of the event at this venue.

The winner of the title was defending champion and world number one Mark Selby, who defeated John Higgins 18–15 in the final despite having fallen 4–10 behind in the second session of the match. Selby defeated Ding Junhui 17–15 in the semi-finals, whilst Higgins defeated Barry Hawkins 17–8 to reach the final. This was Selby's third World Championship win, having also won the title in 2014 and 2016.

The total prize fund for the championship was £1,750,000, with the winner receiving the top prize of £375,000. Englishman Ronnie O'Sullivan compiled a break of 146 in the quarter-finals and won £10,000 for the televised highest break of the tournament. There were a total of 74 century breaks in the main stage of the championship, with a further 84 in qualifying. Gary Wilson scored a maximum break of 147 in qualifying during his first round win over Josh Boileau. The tournament was broadcast in Europe by the BBC and Eurosport, and internationally by World Snooker on Facebook.

Overview

The World Snooker Championship is an annual cue sport tournament and the official world championship of the game of snooker. Founded in the late 19th century by British Army soldiers stationed in India, the sport was played in the United Kingdom. In modern times, however, it has been played worldwide, especially in East and Southeast Asia nations such as China, Hong Kong and Thailand.

The world championship sees 32 professional players compete in one-on-one snooker matches in a single elimination format, each played over several frames. The event's 32 players are selected through a mix of the world snooker rankings, and a pre-tournament qualification round. The first world championship in 1927 was won by Joe Davis, the final being held in Camkin's Hall, Birmingham, England. Since 1977, the event has been held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England. Stephen Hendry is the most successful player in the modern era, having won the championship seven times. England's Mark Selby won the previous year's championship event by defeating China's Ding Junhui in the final 18–14. This was Selby's second championship, having also won in 2014. The winner of the 2017 event earned prize money of £375,000, from a total pool of £1,750,000. The event was sponsored by sports betting company Betfred.

Format

The 2017 World Snooker Championship was held between 15 April and 1 May 2017 in Sheffield, England. The tournament was the last of 19 rankings events in the 2016/2017 season on the World Snooker Tour. It featured a 32-player main draw that took place at the Crucible Theatre, as well as a 128-player qualifying draw that was played at the English Institute of Sport from 5 to 12 April, finishing three days before the start of the main draw. This was the 41st consecutive year that the tournament had been held at the Crucible, and it was the 49th successive world championship to be contested through the modern knockout format.

The top 16 players in the latest world rankings automatically qualified for the main draw as seeded players. Mark Selby was seeded first overall as the defending champion, while the remaining 15 seeds were allocated based on the latest world rankings, released after the penultimate event of the season, the China Open. The number of frames needed to win a match increased with each proceeding round of the main draw, starting with best-of-19-frames matches in the first round, leading up to the final which was played as a best-of-35-frames match.

All 16 non-seeded spots in the main draw were filled with players from the qualifying rounds. The qualifying draw consisted of 128 players, including 110 of the remaining 112 players on the World Snooker Tour, as well as 18 wildcard places allotted to non-tour players. These invited players included the women's world champion, the European junior champion, and all four semi-finalists at the amateur championship. As with the main draw, half of the participants in the qualifying draw were seeded players; those ranked from 17th to 80th were allocated one of 64 seeds in order of their ranking, while the other participants were placed randomly into the draw. To reach the main draw at the Crucible, players needed to win three best-of-19-frames matches.

Prize fund

The total prize money of the event was raised to £1,750,000 from the previous year's £1,500,100. The winner of the event won a total of £375,000. A breakdown of prize money for this year's World Championship is shown below.

  • Winner: £375,000
  • Runner-up: £160,000
  • Semi-final: £75,000
  • Quarter-final: £37,500
  • Last 16: £25,000
  • Last 32: £16,000
  • Last 48: £12,000
  • Last 80: £8,000
  • Televised highest break: £10,000
  • Non-televised highest break: £1,000
  • Total: £1,750,000

The "rolling 147 prize" awarded for a maximum break was £5,000, which was won by Gary Wilson in qualifying.

Tournament summary

Seeding and qualifying rounds

Fergal O'Brien leans across a snooker table holding his cue lining up a shot to a corner pocket
Fergal O'Brien won the longest frame in the modern era of snooker, lasting over two hours, before reaching the main competition.

The top 16 seeds automatically qualified for the first round of the main stage at The Crucible. Defending champion Mark Selby was seeded first, while the other seeding allocations were based on the latest world rankings. The other players (from 17th ranking position) entered the competition in the first round of qualifying and were required to win three best-of-19-frames matches to qualify for the main tournament. The qualifying rounds were held at the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield from 5 to 12 April 2017.

Two-time world champion Mark Williams took part in qualifying, having failed to regain his place in the top 16. He lost 7–10 to Stuart Carrington in his third qualifying match and missed the knockout stage for only the second time since 1996. Williams succeeded in qualifying at the following year's event, where he defeated John Higgins 18–16 in the final to win his third world title.

The deciding frame of the third round qualifying match between Fergal O'Brien and David Gilbert on 12 April was the longest frame on record in the modern era of the game; lasting for 123 minutes and 41 seconds, it broke the previous record of 100 minutes and 24 seconds set by Alan McManus and Barry Pinches in 2015. Gary Wilson made the 131st officially recognised maximum break, the second of his career, in the fourth frame of his first round qualifying match against Josh Boileau on 6 April.

Wilson was one of five players to qualify for the main stage of the championship at The Crucible for the first time, the other four debutants being David Grace, Noppon Saengkham, Yan Bingtao, and Zhou Yuelong. The draw for the first round of the main competition took place at 10:00 a.m. BST on 13 April 2017.

First round

Rory McLeod is shown standing, holding a cue and looking down.
Rory McLeod defeated the second seed Judd Trump in the first round.

The first round of the championship took place between 15 and 20 April 2017. All matches were played as best-of-19-frames over two sessions. Having been eliminated in the first round at the Crucible in the four years since his 2012 semi-final appearance, Stephen Maguire defeated fellow Scot Anthony McGill (seeded 15) 10–2 to progress to the second round for the first time in five years. In his 25th consecutive appearance at the World Championship, Ronnie O'Sullivan (12) withstood a fightback from qualifier Gary Wilson—who had recovered from 5–9 down to 7–9 down—to win their first round match 10–7. In doing so, O'Sullivan secured a place in the last 16 for the 14th year in a row, equalling the record set by Terry Griffiths in 1996.

Elsewhere, Marco Fu (8) trailed Luca Brecel 0–5, 1–7, 4–8 and 8–9 before winning 10–9, in his first round match. Peter Ebdon, 2002 champion, appearing at the Crucible for the 24th time since first qualifying in 1992 played Stuart Bingham (3). In the final frame of the first session, Ebdon won despite needing 15 points from snookers with just the colours remaining. Ebdon achieved the three snookers needed, and the respotted black to bring the score to 4–5. However, he won just one more frame before losing 5–10 to Bingham.

Qualifier Rory McLeod defeated second seed Judd Trump 10–8, after trailing 0–4. Prior to the tournament Trump had proclaimed, "I honestly believe I can play to a standard which is very rare nowadays," and that he was "the best" in the world. Trump's poor performance in the match, which ran into a third session, was exacerbated by a shoulder injury causing him visible pain when down on shots. This led to 46-year-old McLeod becoming the oldest player to reach the last 16 since Steve Davis' quarter-final run in 2010 at 52. McLeod commented that the win was "best win of [his] career, to beat Judd Trump on centre stage is brilliant."

In an all-Chinese match, Ding Junhui (4) defeated debutant Zhou Yuelong 10–5. 2006 champion Graeme Dott defeated Ali Carter (10) 10–7 in a tense encounter to reach the last 16, which Carter blamed on his poor start to the match. 2010 champion Neil Robertson (9) made his 500th career century during his 10–4 first round win over Noppon Saengkham. Stuart Carrington became only the fifth player, after John Higgins, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Mark Selby, and Neil Robertson, to make century breaks in three consecutive frames in a World Championship match during his encounter with Liang Wenbo (13); however, Liang won the match 10–7.

Seven former world champions qualified for the last 16: Selby, Bingham, O'Sullivan, Higgins, Robertson, Dott and Murphy. Ebdon was the only former champion in the main draw not to reach the second round. However, none of the five debutants David Grace, Noppon Saengkham, Gary Wilson, Yan Bingtao or Zhou Yuelong, made it to the second round. Xiao Guodong was the only first-round winner who had not won a match at the Crucible.

Second round

Stephen Maguire holds his cue and lines up a shot into a corner pocket.
Stephen Maguire progressed to his first World Championship quarter-final since 2012.

The second round of the tournament was played between 20 and 24 April 2017. Matches were divided over three sessions and played as best-of-25-frames. This stage saw 13 of the 16 seeded players compete, with Stephen Maguire the only unseeded player to progress to the quarter-finals.

Kyren Wilson (14) advanced to his second quarter-final by defeating third seed Stuart Bingham 13–10. This was Wilson's second consecutive quarter-final appearance, having done the same in 2016. Five-time world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan made his 18th Crucible quarter-final appearance defeating Shaun Murphy (5) 13–7. Ding Junhui played in a second consecutive all-Chinese match, having played Zhou Yuelong in the first round. He also defeated fellow countryman Liang Wenbo 13–12.

Having trailed 3–5, four-time world champion John Higgins (6) defeated Mark Allen (11) 13–9. Stephen Maguire defeated Rory McLeod 13–3 with a session to spare to reach his first Crucible quarter-final since 2012. Defending champion Selby defeated Xiao Guodong 13–6 before commenting that, "I don't feel as though I have peaked", suggesting he could play better in later rounds. Marco Fu defeated Neil Robertson 13–11, after Robertson missed the final black at 11–12 to send the match into a deciding frame.

Quarter-finals

Barry Hawkins stands holding his chine with his right hand and a cue in his left hand looking at a table.
Barry Hawkins reached the semi-finals at the World Championship for the fourth time in five years.

The quarter-finals were played on 25 and 26 April 2017, as best-of-25-frames matches divided over three sessions. John Higgins won all three sessions of his match against Kyren Wilson and triumphed 13–6, to advance to his first semi-final since winning the event in 2011. During the first session and with the score tied at 3–3, Wilson miscued and split his cue tip, requiring a 15-minute tip replacement break. The two players would meet in the semi-finals of the following year's event, which Higgins won 17–13.

Defending champion Mark Selby defeated Marco Fu 13–3 with a session to spare. Selby's victory included a break of 143 in frame 15, which BBC commentator Stephen Hendry described as "one of the best [breaks] I've ever seen." After the match, Fu made the comment that Selby was "unplayable at times" and predicted that he was now the favourite for the championship.

Ding Junhui defeated Ronnie O'Sullivan 13–10 in their quarter-final encounter. Ding led 3–0 before O'Sullivan fought back to level the first session at 4–4. Ding dominated the second session and opened up a 10–6 overnight lead. O'Sullivan took the first two frames of the final session to reduce his deficit to 8–10. After sharing the next four frames equally with his opponent, Ding concluded the match in frame 23. O'Sullivan attempted a 147 maximum break in frame 20, but he ran out of position after potting the 13th red and was forced to take the pink instead of the black; his subsequent clearance of 146 was awarded the highest break of the championship.

Stephen Maguire was the only qualifier to reach the quarter-finals. He was defeated 13–9 by Barry Hawkins, who reached his fourth Crucible semi-final in five years. Hawkins led 9–7 after the first two sessions, but Maguire took the next two frames—including a 135 clearance in frame 17—to tie the match at 9–9. Hawkins then won the next four frames straight to round out the match.

Semi-finals

John Higgins stands holding his cue in his right hand while he chalks it with his left hand.
John Higgins defeated Barry Hawkins in the semi-finals to reach his sixth World Championship final.

The semi-finals, which took place from 27 to 29 April 2017, were played as best-of-33-frames matches divided over four sessions. A single table was used for both matches, with successive sessions of play alternating between the two semi-finals. Defending champion Mark Selby played fourth seed Ding Junhui in the first semi-final, which was effectively a rematch of the previous year's final. Selby held the lead for most of the match, before Ding drew level at 12–12 after three sessions. Selby then won four of the next five frames, to lead 16–13. Needing just one more frame to win the match, he lost the next two frames to a resilient Ding, before scoring a break of 72 to triumph 17–15.

Sixth seed John Higgins played seventh seed Barry Hawkins in the other semi-final. Higgins took leads of 5–3, 10–6, and 16–8 after each of the first three sessions, before winning the match 17–8 in the first frame of the final session. World Snooker described his semi-final win as a "demolition". With the victory, Higgins qualified for his first World Championship final in six years and his sixth overall, the first being 19 years previously when he won his first world title in 1998.

Final

Mark Selby stands looking at a table while he chalks the cue in his left hand.
Defending champion Mark Selby claimed his third world title in four years by winning the final 18–15.

The final was played on 30 April and 1 May 2017 between first seed Mark Selby and sixth seed John Higgins. It was a best-of-35-frames match, spread over four sessions. This final was a repeat of the 2007 World Championship final, where Higgins had defeated Selby 18–13. In reaching the 2017 final, Higgins became the second-oldest Crucible world finalist at 41 years and 11 months, behind Ray Reardon who had played in the 1982 final aged 49. The other quadragenarians to have played in a world final at the Crucible were John Spencer and Terry Griffiths.

Higgins led 6–2 after the first session and 10–4 during the second, before finishing the first day 10–7 ahead. Selby fought back on the second day to win six of the first seven frames, and he was leading 13–11 by the end of the third session. The next six frames were shared equally and Selby maintained his two-frame lead at 16–14. In frame 31, he played a shot to roll up to the black ball; despite his conviction that he had made contact, Selby was told by referee Jan Verhaas that he had missed the ball, for which he received a seven-point penalty. Higgins then won the frame to take the score to 16–15. After compiling a 131 break in frame 32, Selby won the championship with a break of 75 in frame 33, bringing the final match score to 18–15.

Selby had achieved his victory after falling behind by six frames at the end of the first day's play. He was the first player to recover from a deficit of six or more frames to win in a World Championship final since 1985, when Dennis Taylor trailed Steve Davis by 0–8, and later 1–9, before winning the championship. Selby became the fourth player (after Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, and Ronnie O'Sullivan) to defend the world title in the Crucible era. He also became the third player (after Hendry and Ding Junhui) to win five full ranking titles in a single season, the first player to win the China Open and the world title back-to-back, and the first player to win over £1,000,000 across the two-year rolling prize money list. In reaching the final, Higgins moved to second in the world rankings, behind Selby.

Main draw

The numbers in parentheses beside some of the players are their seeding ranks. Players in bold represent match winners.

First roundSecond roundQuarter-finalsSemi-finals
Best of 19 framesBest of 25 framesBest of 25 framesBest of 33 frames
              
15 April      
  Mark Selby (ENG) (1) 10
22, 23 & 24 April
  Fergal O'Brien (IRL) 2 
 EnglandMark Selby (1) 13
19 April
  ChinaXiao Guodong 6 
  Ryan Day (WAL) (16) 4
25 & 26 April
  Xiao Guodong (CHN) 10 
 EnglandMark Selby (1) 13
19 & 20 April
  Hong KongMarco Fu (8) 3 
  Neil Robertson (AUS) (9) 10
23 & 24 April
  Noppon Saengkham (THA) 4 
 AustraliaNeil Robertson (9) 11
16 & 17 April
  Hong KongMarco Fu (8) 13 
  Marco Fu (HKG) (8) 10
27, 28 & 29 April
  Luca Brecel (BEL) 9 
 EnglandMark Selby (1) 17
16 & 17 April
  ChinaDing Junhui (4) 15
  Shaun Murphy (ENG) (5) 10
20, 21 & 22 April
  Yan Bingtao (CHN) 8 
 EnglandShaun Murphy (5) 7
15 & 16 April
  EnglandRonnie O'Sullivan (12) 13 
  Ronnie O'Sullivan (ENG) (12) 10
25 & 26 April
  Gary Wilson (ENG) 7 
 EnglandRonnie O'Sullivan (12) 10
18 April
  ChinaDing Junhui (4) 13 
  Liang Wenbo (CHN) (13) 10
21 & 22 April
  Stuart Carrington (ENG) 7 
 ChinaLiang Wenbo (13) 12
17 & 18 April
  ChinaDing Junhui (4) 13 
  Ding Junhui (CHN) (4) 10
  Zhou Yuelong (CHN) 5 
16 & 17 April      
  Stuart Bingham (ENG) (3) 10
20 & 21 April
  Peter Ebdon (ENG) 5 
 EnglandStuart Bingham (3) 10
15 & 16 April
  EnglandKyren Wilson (14) 13 
  Kyren Wilson (ENG) (14) 10
25 & 26 April
  David Grace (ENG) 6 
 EnglandKyren Wilson (14) 6
16 & 17 April
  ScotlandJohn Higgins (6) 13 
  Mark Allen (NIR) (11) 10
21 & 22 April
  Jimmy Robertson (ENG) 8 
 Northern IrelandMark Allen (11) 9
17 & 18 April
  ScotlandJohn Higgins (6) 13 
  John Higgins (SCO) (6) 10
27, 28 & 29 April
  Martin Gould (ENG) 6 
 ScotlandJohn Higgins (6) 17
19 & 20 April
  EnglandBarry Hawkins (7) 8
  Barry Hawkins (ENG) (7) 10
23 & 24 April
  Tom Ford (ENG) 3 
 EnglandBarry Hawkins (7) 13
18 & 19 April
  ScotlandGraeme Dott 6 
  Ali Carter (ENG) (10) 7
25 & 26 April
  Graeme Dott (SCO) 10 
 EnglandBarry Hawkins (7) 13
15 April
  ScotlandStephen Maguire 9 
  Anthony McGill (SCO) (15) 2
22 & 23 April
  Stephen Maguire (SCO) 10 
 ScotlandStephen Maguire 13
18 & 19 April
  EnglandRory McLeod 3 
  Judd Trump (ENG) (2) 8
  Rory McLeod (ENG) 10 
Final (Best of 35 frames) Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, 30 April & 1 May. Referee: NetherlandsJan Verhaas
Mark Selby (1)
 England
18–15John Higgins (6)
 Scotland
76–34 (76), 7–50, 121–8 (62, 58), 0–141 (141), 40–99 (63), 1–126 (95), 54–59 (58), 33–68Session 1
Session score: (2–6), Match Score: 2–6
76–34 (76), 7–50, 121–8 (62, 58), 0–141 (141), 40–99 (63), 1–126 (95), 54–59 (58), 33–68
86–0 (86), 8–60, 44–74, 69–22, 1–68, 0–76 (76), 81–9 (81), 121–12 (121), 96–17Session 2
Session score: (5–4), Match Score: 7–10
86–0 (86), 8–60, 44–74, 69–22, 1–68, 0–76 (76), 81–9 (81), 121–12 (121), 96–17
76–1, 53–2, 29–107 (78), 63–40, 68–19 (67), 82–0 (58), 72–0 (72)Session 3
Session score: (6–1), Match Score 13–11
76–1, 53–2, 29–107 (78), 63–40, 68–19 (67), 82–0 (58), 72–0 (72)
72–22, 36–74, 76–1 (71), 134–4 (54, 70), 34–88 (88), 0–119 (111), 47–74, 132–0 (131), 80–19 (75)Session 4
Session score: (5–4), Match Score 18–15
72–22, 36–74, 76–1 (71), 134–4 (54, 70), 34–88 (88), 0–119 (111), 47–74, 132–0 (131), 80–19 (75)
131Highest break141
2Century breaks2
1450+ breaks8
EnglandMark Selby wins the 2017 Betfred World Snooker Championship

Qualifying

Qualifying for the 2017 World Snooker Championship took place from 5 to 12 April 2017, at the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield. There were 128 competitors who took part in the three qualifying rounds, with the 16 winners of the third round matches progressing to the main stage of the tournament at the Crucible Theatre, also in Sheffield. All qualifying matches were played as best-of-19-frames. The 128 players that entered the qualifying competition included tour players ranked outside the top 16, and 16 amateur players, all of whom achieved success through the WPBSA qualifying criteria. The following amateur players were invited to compete:

The winner of the 2016 IBSF World Snooker Championship, Soheil Vahedi of Iran, was also invited but could not obtain a visa in time to compete. Two amateur players, England's Andy Hicks and Poland's Adam Stefanów, were invited to replace the absent professional players Jamie Burnett and Rouzi Maimaiti. Hicks and Stefanów were selected from the 2016 Q School Order of Merit, as the top-ranked players that had not already qualified for the tournament.

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Winners advanced to the main draw.

Century breaks

Main stage centuries

There were 74 century breaks made by 23 players in the main stage of the 2017 World Snooker Championship. The highest break of the tournament, a 146, was compiled by Ronnie O'Sullivan in a quarter-final loss to Ding Junhui.

Qualifying stage centuries

There were 84 century breaks made by 51 players in the qualifying stage of the championship, including a maximum break compiled by Gary Wilson in frame four of his first qualifying round win over Josh Boileau.

Coverage

The 2017 World Snooker Championship was broadcast throughout Europe by both BBC TV and Eurosport, with the BBC's coverage of the Triple Crown events extended until 2024 after the competition. The tournament was streamed internationally on Facebook for the first time, specifically for portions of South America and Asia. The event was also broadcast in North America on Facebook, and the final was aired on the Eleven Sports Network.

External links

Uses material from the Wikipedia article "2017 World Snooker Championship", released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.