Reigning Crucible king Judd Trump has a favourable draw for the 2020 World Snooker Championship which takes place this year from 31 July to 16 August in Sheffield.
Since finally delivering on his promise and potential by winning the sport’s richest prize last year, the Bristol potter has won a record six ranking event titles this season. While victories in tournaments such as the Northern Ireland Open, German Masters and Gibraltar Open are a far cry from the Triple Crown, Trump’s route to a successful defence of his global crown looks easier on paper.
Like all major snooker events, the World Championship is seeded, but there are more of the bigger names from the green baize in the bottom half of the draw. As the number one player, Trump won’t meet four-time Crucible winner John Higgins, now aged 45 but still seeded fifth after reaching the final last year, until the semis provided both go that far into the tournament.
Other notable seeds in the top half of the draw are former UK champ Stephen Maguire (ninth and a possible quarter-final opponent) and 2018 Masters winner Mark Allen (fourth and wouldn’t meet until the semis). Number eight seed Kyren Wilson has been consistent at the Crucible in recent years, reaching at least the quarters in each of the last four years and that is the stage at which he could meet Trump again.
As he avoids former world champions Stuart Bingham, Shaun Murphy, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Neil Robertson and Mark Williams completely, it’s no wonder that Trump is 5/2 favourite in the latest snooker betting markets for the Crucible. He is entitled to that prominent position with so many of his rivals in the other half of the draw.
O’Sullivan, a five-time world champ and seeded sixth this year, is next best in the market at 4/1. If Trump isn’t to retain his Crucible crown, then the betting suggests the winner will come from the bottom half of the draw with number two seed Robertson at 11/2 and three-time victor Selby at 10/1.
Last year’s tournament was the crown prince of snooker’s long overdue coronation. Trump has clearly kicked on for his exploits in Sheffield by dominating the tour. No other player has won more than two ranking events this season with Murphy, Robertson and Selby those closest to him.
“Ding Junhui at the German Masters” by DerHexer (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Ding Junhui is still regarded as China’s top snooker export and has confirmed he will be at the Crucible. Often based in Sheffield, success at this sort of local event has eluded him thus far. A World Snooker Championship title is all Ding needs to complete his Triple Crown set, though, and he’s a 16/1 shot to get it.
You can get similar odds about “The Wizard of Wishaw” Higgins, Murphy and Allen, and an 18/1 price for Wilson. Bar those; it is 25/1 and bigger for the rest of the Crucible hopefuls. Trump, nicknamed the Ace in the Pack, has delivered in spades since becoming world champion and is certainly the one all challengers have to beat.