Next week marks the return of the China Championship and it’s now bigger and better than ever before.
The first Evergrande China Championship was held last year as an invitational event. It saw John Higgins beat Stuart Bingham 10-7 to land the biggest cash prize seen in snooker outside of the UK – a whopping £200,000.
But as promised by World Snooker, the event has now transformed into a full ranking competition allowing all players on the main tour to compete for the £150,000 winning pot – making it the season’s biggest event so far. Total prize money for the event is huge standing at £700,000.
Play gets underway next Wednesday (August 16) with the final taking place on a week on Tuesday (August 22). Live coverage of the event will be screened on Eurosport UK and it’s online subscription platform Eurosport Player.
If the dramatic music in the below promotion video from World Snooker is anything to go by, then we could be in for quite a few days.
Who’s Playing in it?
With huge cash prizes and significant early season ranking points up for grabs, it is no surprise to see almost all of snooker’s elite taking part in what is the season’s biggest event so far in the calendar. In total 64 players will take part.
These include snooker’s big names including world champion Mark Selby, Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and home favourite Ding Junhui who will all be eyeing up hopes for silverware.
Infact, only one of the world’s top 16 stars will not feature – The World Games winner Kyren Wilson who lost his qualifier earlier this month to Michael Georgiou.
Other players to keep an eye out for will be the in-form Ken Doherty who has already beaten two of the world’s top 16 this season, Chinese youngsters Yan Bingtao and Zhou Yuelong after reaching the World Championship for the first time, Neil Robertson fresh from his Hong Kong Masters win and Welshman Ryan Day who began the season winning his first ever ranking event after 20 years of trying.
Any exciting matches?
You bet there is! The Last 64 stage has produced some interesting matches to say the least. Picks include China’s young prospect Yan Bingtao up against last year’s China Championship finalist Stuart Bingham and Ronnie O’Sullivan up against Sam Baird who will relish the opportunity to face the five-times world champion.
Current world champion Mark Selby will play his qualifier at the venue stage taking on Luo Honghao – with Thailand’s Noppon Saenkham awaiting the winner. Another fascinating match sees Marco Fu take on Iranian Hossein Vafaei who impressed the snooker world in his first season as a professional after reaching the semi-finals of the China Open.
See the full draw here.
How long are the matches?
All matches will be the best of 9 frames up to and including the Quarter Finals. The Semi Finals will be a race to six frames and the final will be best of 19 frames.
Where is it being held?
The seven day event will be held in the city Guangzhou, south of China. This is where the tournament was held last year.
It will be held in the Guangzho Sports Institute.
How will prize money be distributed?
As stated a total of £700,000 will be handed to the players involved. All those taking part have guaranteed themselves £4,000 by winning their qualifier at Preston at the start of August.
But players who reach the latter stages will benefit financially as the prize money significantly increases round by round.
To Reach Last 32 Stage – £7,000 (increase of £3,000)
To Reach Last 16 Stage – £12,000 (increase of £5,000)
To Reach Quarter-Finals – £18,000 (increase of £6,000)
To Reach Semi-Finals – £32,000 (increase of £14,000)
To Reach Final – £75,000 (increase of £43,000)
For the Winner – £150,000 (Increase of £75,000)
What happened last year?
In the inaugural Evergrande China Championship, World Snooker announced it would kick off in style with snooker’s finest 16 stars taking to the action. It included the top 10 in the world rankings after the Shanghai Masters, the top four of the one-year ranking list at the time and two nominees from the Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association – Liang Wenbo and Marco Fu.
Ronnie O’Sullivan pulled out prior to the competition and was replaced by Mark Williams.
But Williams was to lose out to eventual winner John Higgins. The Scottish star beat Williams 6-4 before defeating Ali Carter, Mark Allen and Stuart Bingham in the final. Higgins, winner of four World Championship titles, hit three century breaks in a row to seal the victory and the luxurious £200,000 top prize.
After the match Higgins said: “It’s a dream come true to finish a match off like that with three centuries, especially for such a big prize and a big tournament,”
The tournament saw plenty of quality with a total of 21 century breaks in the tournament.