2020 World Snooker Championship

2020 Betfred World Snooker Championship
World Snooker Championship 2015 Logo.png
Tournament information
Dates31 July – 16 August 2020
VenueCrucible Theatre
CitySheffield
CountryEngland
Organisation(s)World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, World Snooker Tour
FormatRanking event
Total prize fund£2,395,000
Winner's share£500,000
Highest break John Higgins (SCO) (147)
Final
Champion Ronnie O'Sullivan (ENG)
Runner-up Kyren Wilson (ENG)
Score18–8
2019
2021

The 2020 World Snooker Championship (also referred to as the 2020 Betfred World Snooker Championship for the purposes of sponsorship) was a professional snooker tournament that took place from 31 July to 16 August 2020 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England. It was the 44th consecutive year that the World Snooker Championship was held at the Crucible, and it was the final ranking event of the 2019–20 snooker season. The tournament was originally scheduled to take place from 18 April to 4 May 2020, but the qualifying stage and televised rounds were postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was one of the first to allow live audiences since the outbreak of the pandemic, but on the first day it was announced that the event would be played behind closed doors for subsequent days; however, a limited number of spectators were later allowed in for the final two days of the championship.

The tournament was organised by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association and the World Snooker Tour, and was broadcast by the BBC, Eurosport and Matchroom Sport. The event had a total prize fund of £2,395,000, with the winner receiving £500,000. Qualifying for the tournament was due to be held between 8 and 15 April 2020 at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield, but this was also postponed. Qualifying instead took place from 21 to 28 July at the originally planned venue. There were 128 participants in the qualifying rounds, with a mix of professional and invited amateur players; 16 players reached the main stage of the tournament where they played the top 16 players in the snooker world rankings. The event was sponsored by sports betting company Betfred.

Judd Trump was the defending champion, having won his maiden world title at the previous year's event, defeating John Higgins 18–9 in the final. He lost in the quarter-final stage to Kyren Wilson, becoming the 18th player to fall to the Crucible curse. Ronnie O'Sullivan won his sixth world title, defeating Wilson 18–8 in the final. This was O'Sullivan's 37th ranking event win of his career, the highest of any player. Higgins made a maximum break in the 12th frame of his second-round loss to Kurt Maflin. This was Higgins' tenth career maximum break and his first at the World Championship; aged 45, he became the oldest player to make a maximum in a professional competition.

Background

The World Snooker Championship features 32 professional players competing in one-on-one snooker matches in a single-elimination format, each match played over several frames. The 32 players for the event are selected through a mix of the snooker world rankings and a pre-tournament qualification round.[1] The first World Snooker Championship in 1927, held at Camkin's Hall in Birmingham, England, was won by Joe Davis.[2][3] Since 1977, the event has been held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.[4] Stephen Hendry is the event's most successful participant in the modern era, having won the championship seven times.[5] The previous year's championship was won by England's Judd Trump, who defeated Scotland's John Higgins in the final 18–9. The winner of the 2020 championship received £500,000, from a total prize fund of £2,395,000.[6]

Format

The Crucible Theatre from outside
The main draw of the tournament was played at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England.

The 2020 World Snooker Championship was scheduled to take place between 18 April and 4 May 2020 in Sheffield, England, but was postponed until Friday 31 July to Sunday 16 August as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.[7][8] The event features a 32-player main draw to be contested at the Crucible Theatre as well as a 128-player qualifying draw played at the English Institute of Sport; qualifying was originally due to take place from 8 to 15 April but was also delayed, eventually taking place from 21 to 28 July 2020 and finishing three days prior to the start of the main draw.[9][10] In May 2019, World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn announced the event's qualifying format would be changed from the previous year, with seeding given to players with a higher ranking, and played over four rounds instead of three.[11] The tournament is the last of 17 ranking events in the 2019–20 season on the World Snooker Tour.[12] This is the 44th consecutive year that the tournament has been held at the Crucible, and the 52nd successive world championship to be contested through the modern knockout format.[6][11] The tournament is sponsored by sports betting company Betfred, as it has been since 2015.[13]

The top 16 players in the latest 2019–20 snooker world rankings automatically qualified for the main draw as seeded players. Defending champion Judd Trump was automatically seeded first overall.[1][14] The remaining 15 seeds were allocated based on the latest world rankings, released after the 2020 Tour Championship which was the penultimate event of the season.[14] Matches in the first round of the main draw were played as best of 19 frames, second-round matches and quarter-finals were played as best of 25 frames, and the semi-finals were played over a maximum of 33 frames. The final was played over two days as a best-of-35-frames match.[1]

Coverage

The tournament was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Television and BBC Online, as well as Eurosport.[15][16][17] Internationally, the event was broadcast by Eurosport in Europe and Australia,[16] Superstars Online, Zhibo.tv, Youku and CCTV in China, NowTV in Hong Kong and DAZN in Canada, USA and Brazil.[15] In other countries, Matchroom Sport broadcast the tournament, as well as the qualifying.[18]

The World Snooker Championship was intended to be one of the first sporting events to allow spectators after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. A reduced audience was to be admitted to allow for social distancing.[19][20] The event, along with the Glorious Goodwood Festival and two county cricket matches, was being used as a trial for live audiences by the UK government, ahead of restrictions being lifted in October.[19][21] During the first day of the event, Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, announced that the sporting pilots were being ended, and fans would no longer be allowed inside the venue. The World Snooker Tour announced an hour later that fans would be allowed in the venue for the rest of the first day, but matches were to be played behind closed doors for the remainder of the tournament.[22]

During the semi-final stages, the UK Government announced that the sporting event pilots, previously postponed, would resume. This meant that the reduced capacity crowd from the start of the tournament would be allowed back for both days of the final.[23]

Prize fund

The breakdown of prize money for the event is shown below.[6]

  • Winner: £500,000
  • Runner-up: £200,000
  • Semi-finalists: £100,000
  • Quarter-finalists: £50,000
  • Last 16: £30,000
  • Last 32: £20,000
  • Last 48: £15,000
  • Last 80: £10,000
  • Last 112: £5,000
  • Highest break (qualifying stage included): £15,000
  • Total: £2,395,000
  • Maximum break in the main event: £40,000
  • Maximum break at the qualifying stage: £10,000

Tournament summary

Qualifying

Allan Taylor playing a shot
Allan Taylor made the highest break in qualifying, a 145.

Qualifying for the event was held over four rounds, between 21 and 28 July 2020 with 16 players progressing.[24] James Cahill, who defeated five-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan in the main stage in 2019, lost in the opening round to amateur player Ben Mertens.[25] Mertens, aged 15, became the youngest player to win a match at the event.[25] Mertens lost in the second round to Sam Baird.[26][27] Allan Taylor won the Challenge Tour play-off to gain a two-year professional tour card prior to qualifying, and won both of his first two matches 6–1. In these matches he scored four century breaks, including a career-high 145 – the highest break in qualifying.[28][29] Six-time runner-up Jimmy White won his first two qualifying matches, including a 6–4 win over Michael Georgiou, but lost in the third round to Robert Milkins.[28][30] Gary Wilson, who reached the semi-finals in the 2019 event, lost in the third round of qualifying to Swiss player Alexander Ursenbacher 3–6.[31] Two-time runner-up Ali Carter started in round three, but lost his opening match to Louis Heathcote.[32] This was the first time in 17 years that Carter did not play in the main stage of the event.[30]

Anthony Hamilton playing a shot
Anthony Hamilton qualified for the event but withdrew before the first round.

The final round of qualifying was played on 27 and 28 July, with matches played as best-of-19 frames over two sessions. Alexander Ursenbacher is the first Swiss player to play the mainstages of the tournament, after defeating Andrew Higginson 10–8.[33][34] Ursenbacher led 6–2 after the first session, but the lead was cut to 9–8 before he won frame 18.[34] Alan McManus qualified for the main stage for the first time since reaching the semi-finals in 2016 after defeating Louis Heathcote 10–5.[33][35] Elliot Slessor won the final nine frames of the match to defeat Martin O'Donnell 10–3.[36] Slessor had promised to plan a wedding with his girlfriend if he made it through the qualifying rounds.[33][36] Liang Wenbo led Fergal O'Brien 5–2, but won just two frames of the next eight to trail 7–8. The match went to a deciding frame at 9–9 which Liang won with a break of 141.[37] Anthony McGill lost only one frame in his win over Sam Baird,[38] whilst Norwegian player Kurt Maflin defeated Matthew Selt by the same scoreline 10–1, to qualify for the first time since 2015.[39]

Slessor and Ursenbacher made their debuts in the main draw. Other debutants in the main draw were Jamie Clarke, Ashley Carty and Jordan Brown.[40] Anthony Hamilton qualified for the main draw of the World Championship for the first time since 2008, but withdrew because of health concerns over the coronavirus.[41] As an asthmatic, he had criticised the decision to allow a limited number of spectators into the Crucible. Defending champion Judd Trump said Hamilton should have made his decision earlier, as by participating in the qualifiers despite knowing there would be spectators in the final stages he had denied a place to another player.[42][43]

First round

The first round was played from 31 July to 5 August.[44] Matches were played as best-of-19 frames held over two sessions.[44] Defending champion Judd Trump played Tom Ford in the opening match. Ford won the first frame, and attempted a maximum break but missed the pot on the 13th black ball.[45] Ford won the second and third frame as well, before Trump won the next two. Ford won the following two frames, including a break of 140 to lead 5–2, but lost the last two to lead 5–4 after the first session.[45] Ford won the opening frame on the resumption of play, but Trump won the next three frames to take the lead for the first time in the match.[46] Ford won frame 14, before Trump made a break of 131 in the next – his 100th century break of the season.[46] Trump also won the next frame to lead 9–7. Ford won frame 17, but Trump won the match in the next 10–8.[45] Trump's 100th century was only the second time a player had made that many breaks in a season, after Neil Robertson in the 2013–14 snooker season.[45][47]

Stuart Bingham playing a shot
The 2015 champion Stuart Bingham defeated Ashley Carty 10–7.

The 2015 winner Stuart Bingham met qualifier Ashley Carty and led 5–4 after the first session.[46] Bingham then won the next four frames, including a maximum attempt that fell apart on 12 black balls, and a 109 to lead 9–4. Carty then won the next three frames, before Bingham won frame 17 with a break of 82 to win 10–7.[48][49] The 2019 UK Championship winner Ding Junhui played Mark King. Ding had not played in any tournaments since the COVID-19 pandemic, but took a 5–4 lead after the first session.[50][51] The pair were tied at 5–5 to 7–7 before Ding won two frames to lead 9–7. Two 50-minute frames were won by King, leading to a deciding frame.[52] Ding won the frame after potting a mid-range red ball to win 10–9.[49][48][53]

The three-time champion Mark Williams was drawn against Alan McManus. After the first session of play, McManus led 5–4, despite losing the first two frames.[54] In the second session, Williams won six straight frames to win the match 10–5.[55][56] After the performance, Williams said "he outplayed me and I was happy to be 5–4 down because it could have been 7–2" after the first session, and in the second session he "put pressure on [McManus], then he got frustrated and I knew I had him as long as I didn't make silly mistakes".[57] Four-time champion John Higgins met two-time finalist Matthew Stevens, and held a 6–3 lead after the first session.[58] Stevens won frame 10 with a break of 138, before Higgins won the next two frames to lead 8–4.[59] Stevens won frame 13 before Higgins won the next frame despite requiring foul shots and then frame 15 to win 10–5.[59] The 2010 winner Neil Robertson met Liang Wenbo, and led 5–4 after the first session after breaks of 140, 123 and 87.[60] Liang won the opening frame of the second session to tie the match at 5–5, before Robertson won the next five frames to win the match 10–5.[61]

Noppon Saengkham playing a shot
Noppon Saengkham defeated the 2005 champion Shaun Murphy 10–4.

The previous year's semi-finalist David Gilbert played Kurt Maflin, who had not qualified since the 2015 event.[39] Maflin led 3–1 and later 5–4 after the first session.[62] Both players made a break of 102 in frames 10 and 11, with four century breaks in a row. Maflin attempted a maximum break, scoring 105 in frame 16 to tie the match at 8–8. After running out of position for the 14th black, he gave "the finger" to the table, and received a warning from referee Tatiana Woollaston.[63][64] Maflin then won the next two frames to win 10–8.[61] Five-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan averaged less than 14 seconds per shot as he opened a 8–1 lead in the first session against Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.[59] In the second session, O'Sullivan clinched the next two frames in less than half an hour. With a match time of 108 minutes, his victory set a new record for the fastest match in a best-of-19. This was 41 minutes faster than the previous record by Shaun Murphy in his 10–0 victory over Luo Honghao in 2019.[65] Yan Bingtao played debutant Elliot Slessor, and led 8–1 after the first session. Yan also led 9–2, before Slessor won five frames in a row. Yan won the match 10–7.[66] Anthony McGill took a 5–4 lead after the first session over Jack Lisowski.[67] McGill led 9–6 before Lisowski won three frames to force a deciding frame. The frame was fought over the final blue ball, which was potted by McGill to win 10–9.[68] The 2005 champion Shaun Murphy was defeated by Noppon Saengkham 10–4 in a match Murphy described as "the worst two days of my snooker years".[69]

Three-time champion Mark Selby struggled for form as he defeated Jordan Brown 10–6.[70][71] In his match against Jamie Clarke, Mark Allen scored two century breaks in the first two frames,[72] and made three other century breaks but lost the match 8–10.[73] Alexander Ursenbacher won the first frame in his match against Barry Hawkins, but won only one other frame and lost 2–10.[74][75][76] The final match of the first round was held between Stephen Maguire and Martin Gould. Maguire had won the preceding event at the Tour Championship.[77] Gould made three breaks of 103 and a break of 100 to open a 7–2 lead after the first session, and eventually won the match 10–3.[78]

Second round

Photograph of John Higgins with a cue in hand, ready to strike the cue ball.
John Higgins scored a maximum break in the 12th frame of his second-round match against Kurt Maflin.

The second round was played from 5 to 9 August as best-of-25 frames held over three sessions.[44] Kurt Maflin took on John Higgins, with Higgins taking the first two frames. Maflin responded by winning the next four frames in a row, before Higgins won frame 7 with a break of 101.[79] The final frame of the session was won by Maflin with a break of 81 to lead 5–3.[79] Higgins won frame nine, but Maflin won the next two frames to take a 7–4 lead. In frame 12, Higgins made the highest break of the tournament, a maximum break of 147.[80] This was the first time since Stephen Hendry in 2012 that there was a maximum at the event. They shared the next two frames, however, Higgins won the next two frames to tie the match at 8–8.[81] Maflin won the next two frames, before Higgins took the lead by winning the next three.[82][83] Maflin, however, also won the next three frames to win the match 13–11.[83]

Kurt Maflin playing a shot with the rest
Kurt Maflin defeated four-time champion John Higgins 13–11.

Mark Williams won the first frame in the match against Stuart Bingham, with Bingham winning the next two frames. In frame four, Bingham was seven points ahead, but missed potting the black ball off the spot. Williams potted the black, and also the respotted black to win the frame.[84] Williams then took the next three frames, and led 5–3 after the first session.[85] Williams took frame nine, before Bingham won four straight frames to lead 7–6.[86] Williams won the next two frames, but missed a green ball in frame 16 allowing Bingham to tie the match at 8–8.[87] Bingham won frame 17 with a break of 70, before Williams won the next two frames. With the scores later tied at 11–11, Williams won the next two frames to win the match 13–11.[88]

World number one Judd Trump won the first frame against Yan Bingtao, while Yan scored a break of 133 in frame two, before Trump won frame three.[89] Yan then won the next four frames to lead 5–2.[87][89] Yan missed the final brown ball in frame eight, allowing Trump to make a clearance and finish the session 3–5 behind.[86] Trump won the second session 6–2, to carry a 9–7 lead into the final session, which he won 13–11 with a break of 127.[90] Mark Selby and Noppon Saengkham were tied at 8–8 after the first two sessions of their match, with three-time champion Selby taking a 12–10 lead.[91] Noppon won the next two frames, however, to force a deciding frame. In frame 25, Selby made a century break to win the match 13–12.[91]

Neil Robertson playing a shot
The 2010 champion Neil Robertson defeated Barry Hawkins 13–9.

Kyren Wilson received a bye through the first round, and met Martin Gould.[92] Wilson won five of the first six frames of the match, before Gould won the final two of the session. At 5–3 ahead, Wilson won the next five frames in a row to lead 10–3.[93] Gould won the next two frames, but Wilson won the final frame of the second session to lead 11–5.[94] In the final session, Gould won the first three frames, and had won the fourth baring foul shots.[95] In a snooker, Gould missed and conceded a free ball, allowing Wilson enough points to win the frame. Kyren won the match in frame 21 13–9.[95] Barry Hawkins trailed 2010 champion Neil Robertson 3–5 after the first session of their match, with Robertson winning frame nine to lead by three frames.[94][93] Hawkins won the next four straight frames to take the lead 7–6. Robertson won the next two frames to lead again, but Hawkins tied the match at 8–8 after two sessions.[92] Robertson won the next two frames, before Hawkins scored a century break in frame 19. Robertson won the next three frames to win 13–9.[96]

Ronnie O'Sullivan, making a record 28th consecutive appearance at the event,[97] was level with Ding Junhui after the first session 4–4.[98] O'Sullivan won frame nine, before Ding won three frames with breaks of 64, 118 and 101 to lead 7–5.[99] O'Sullivan also won three frames in a row, before Ding won frame 16 to level at 8–8.[99][100] O'Sullivan won the match 13–10 to reach a record 19th quarter-final at the event.[101] The final match of the second round was played between two qualifiers – Anthony McGill and debutant Jamie Clarke.[102] Clarke led 7–2; but was reprimanded by McGill for standing in his line of sight during a shot.[102] The pair were calmed by referee Jan Verhaas, however, Clarke was followed out of the arena by McGill.[103] Clarke later tweeted "You want to dance, let's dance".[104] McGill won the remaining five frames of the session to trail 7–8.[104] The pair were tied at 11–11 before Clarke took frame 23 and missed match-ball pink in the next allowing McGill to tie the scores at 12–12.[105] In the deciding frame, Clarke failed to escape from a snooker, and left a free ball, which was enough for McGill to win the match 13–12.[106]

Quarter-finals

Mark Selby playing a shot
Mark Selby was applauded for the quality of his safety play in his 13–7 win over Neil Robertson.

The quarter-finals were played from 9 to 11 August as best-of-25 frames, held over three sessions.[44] Mark Selby played Neil Robertson, with the first frame lasting over 58 minutes.[107] Selby took the frame, and all of the first five of the match.[108] Robertson won the next three frames, including a four-ball plant in the final frame of the session.[108][109] Selby then won the second session of the match 6–2 to lead 11–5 after the second session, winning four frames in a row.[110][111] Selby won frame 17 with a break of 91 to lead 12–5, but Robertson won the next two frames.[111] Selby won the match 13–7 when Robertson missed a black ball from the spot.[111] Robertson praised Selby's safety play throughout the match, whilst Selby commented that he had lost confidence at reaching the stage of the tournament again.[111]

Defending champion Judd Trump played Kyren Wilson in the second quarter-final. Wilson led 5–3 after the first session, but Trump pulled to one behind twice in the second session. Wilson, however extended the lead to 10–6 by winning the last three frames of the second session.[112] Trump made breaks of 72, 100 and 62 to trail by one frame, but Wilson won three frames of his own to win the match 13–9.[113] As a first-time champion, Trump was contesting the Crucible curse, where since 1970 no such player had retained the championship.[113] Trump finished the season with the most amount of ranking events won in a single season (six), and the most century breaks of any player this season (102), just one shy of Neil Robertson's record in 2013-14.[114]

Anthony McGill playing a shot
Anthony McGill reached his first World Championship semi-final.

Two former champions played in Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Williams. O'Sullivan was asked before the match about the players meeting in 2020, as both players turned professional in 1992.[115] He commented that the younger players were "so bad", and that he would have to "lose an arm and a leg" to not be in the top 50 players in the snooker world rankings.[115][116][117] Williams would later consider that the comments were also aimed at himself, and they were "disrespectful".[118] O'Sullivan took a 2–1 lead, but Williams won five straight frames to lead the session by four.[119] O'Sullivan missed frame ball in frame nine and went five behind, before he won six of the next seven to tie the match 8–8 after two sessions.[120] Williams won two of the next three frames to lead 10–9, before O'Sullivan made breaks of 104, 61, 65 and 133 to go 12–10, one frame from victory.[120] In frame 23, O'Sullivan missed the blue, which was the only ball he required to win the match, with Williams making a clearance to force a respotted black. Williams missed a shot on the black, with O'Sullivan potting it to win 13–10.[120]

Two qualifiers, Scot Anthony McGill and Norway's Kurt Maflin contested their first quarter-finals.[121] McGill won the first three frames of the match with breaks of 53, 63 and 78.[122] Maflin won frame four, and was 54 points ahead in the fifth until he missed a routine pot on the red ball, with McGill winning the frame.[122] McGill finished the first session 7–1 ahead.[122] Maflin won five of the next seven frames of the match, before McGill won the final frame of the second session to stay 10–6 ahead.[121] While McGill won the first frame of the final session to go 11–6 up, Maflin then won four of the next five frames before McGill wrapped up a 13–10 win.[123]

Semi-finals

The semi-finals were played from 12 to 14 August as best-of-33 frames, held over four sessions.[44] Kyren Wilson, who had reached this stage once before in 2018, played Anthony McGill who had not reached the semi-finals previously.[124] McGill won the first two frames with breaks of 83 and 78, before winning frame three after Wilson missed a pot on the green.[124] Wilson won frame four, before McGill won the next two to lead 5–1, with the session ending 6–2 to McGill.[124][125] In the second session, Wilson won three of the next four frames including a century break to trail 5–7.[126] McGill won frame 13, but Wilson won the final three frames of the second session with three breaks over 75 to tie the match 8–8.[126] Wilson made breaks of 99 and 116 to lead 13–10, but the final frame of the third session was won by McGill.[127]

Wilson playing a shot with a rest
Kyren Wilson reached his first World Championship final after winning a 62-minute deciding frame against Anthony McGill.

McGill made his first two century breaks of the tournament in the final session to tie the match at 14–14, and then took the lead at 16–15.[128] The penultimate frame saw McGill be trapped in a snooker, and leave the final red available and Wilson made a clearance to set a deciding frame.[128] In the final frame, McGill was snookered behind the yellow ball, and conceded 35 penalty points, missing the shot on eight occasions.[129] This was enough points for McGill to require snookers to remain in the competition. In the next shot, Wilson played a safety shot, and went in-off allowing McGill enough points to be able to win.[129] With the final red ball being slightly above the middle pocket, both players missed shots from the baulk cushion, before McGill potted the red, but ran out of position.[129] Wilson then fluked the green, which won the match.[129]

The frame lasted 62 minutes and set a new record for the most combined points in a single frame at the Crucible, 103–83.[128] After fluking the match winning ball, Wilson became emotional, and apologised to McGill. He later commented "I didn't want it to end that way, I have dreamed of this situation and I didn't want to win the match on a fluke."[128] McGill commented "I feel as if the match was stolen from me – not by Kyren [Wilson] but by the snooker gods".[128] 1991 champion John Parrott commented on the deciding frame, saying "I have never, in 44 years of playing this wonderful game, seen a frame of snooker like that. It was unbelievable."[129]

Ronnie O'Sullivan chalking his cue
Ronnie O'Sullivan took the last three frames of his semi-final against Mark Selby, to win the match 17–16.

The second semi-final was between Mark Selby and Ronnie O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan won four of the first five frames, despite there being a lot of kicks with the balls being replaced to counteract the number of bad contacts.[125] Selby trailed 1–5, but won the final two frames of the session to trail 3–5. Six-time champion Steve Davis commented that Selby would have considered the session to have been won after claiming the final two frames.[125] Selby then won the next four frames of the match to lead 7–5, before winning two more frames to win the second session 6–2.[130] In the final frame of the session, O'Sullivan rasped his hand on the table in frustration before Selby made a break of 76.[130] Selby took frame 17 with a break of 97, and shared the first four frames to lead 11–9. Selby then won the next frame to lead 13–9, having won 12 out of 16 frames.[131] O'Sullivan then won the last two frames of the session.[131] He also won the next two frames of the final session, including a break of 114, the first century of the match.[132] Selby won the next two frames to lead 16–14, with O'Sullivan playing attacking shots and "going for broke".[132] O'Sullivan then won the next two frames with breaks of 138 and 71 to also go to a deciding frame.[133] In the decider, O'Sullivan made a long pot, but broke down after missing a shot on the green. Selby cleared until the final red, and a series of safety shots were played, with O'Sullivan playing controlled shots that he had previously not, and potted match ball after Selby failed to escape a snooker.[132]

Post-match, Selby said "I felt he was being a bit disrespectful to me and the game, not many players would just get down and hit them at 100 mph when you put them in a snooker. Some would look to work it out or put you in trouble. It just felt like he was doing that throughout the match and I thought it was a bit disrespectful to me and the game".[134][135] O'Sullivan, however, responded to all questions stating that his cue action was poor, and that he had been struggling to play during the tournament.[136][137] He also stated that his shot choice was due to not being able to control shots out of snookers the same as Selby.[133]

Final

Marcel Eckardt
German referee Marcel Eckardt officiated his first World Championship final.

The final was played on 15 and 16 August as a best-of-35-frames match, held over four sessions.[44] German referee Marcel Eckardt took charge of his first world championship final.[138] The final was held between five-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan and first-time finalist Kyren Wilson.[139] O'Sullivan had won four of the six previous meetings between the two players, however Wilson had won their latest encounter in the semi-finals of the 2020 Welsh Open.[140] O'Sullivan took a 3–1 lead in the first session after misses by Wilson.[139] He then left the pink ball over the pocket in frame five to allow Wilson to win, and get back to within a single frame.[139] O'Sullivan won the next three frames, including the first century break of the match in frame six to lead 6–2 after the first session.[139][141] BBC pundit Stephen Hendry commented "I tend to think the match is over. I hope I'm wrong, but I think 6–2 is too far for Kyren to come back from".[142]

Wilson made a break of 53 in frame nine, but made a tactical error to lose the frame, before O'Sullivan won the next frame to lead 8–2.[141] Trailing by six, Wilson won three frames with breaks of 92, 50 and 58.[141] In frame 15, Wilson went into the pack, but inadvertently pocketed a red ball, allowing O'Sullivan to win the frame. Wilson made a century break in the next frame, but missed a red in the final frame of the session to trail 7–10 overnight.[141] The 1997 winner Ken Doherty commented that the missed red was a missed opportunity for Wilson, whilst O'Sullivan would be "over the moon", to only lose five frames in the session.[141] Six-time champion Steve Davis commented that his body language during the session suggested that O'Sullivan was "struggling", and "deteriorating".[143]

Wilson made a long pot in frame 18, and made a break of 73.[144] O'Sullivan then responded by winning the next seven frames in a row to lead 17–8 going into the final session.[145] The final session lasted only 11 minutes and featured a single frame, as O'Sullivan won the match 18–8 with a break of 96.[146] The win was O'Sullivan's sixth and his 37th ranking event victory.[146] O'Sullivan suggested that he did not think his form was good enough to win the event: "There was a part of me that decided that I didn't play enough – and I still probably don't play enough – to justify winning a tournament of this stature".[147][148]

Main draw

Numbers given in brackets after players' names show the seedings for the top 16 players in the competition. Players in bold denote match winners.[149][150][151]

First round Second round Quarter-finals Semi-finals
Best of 19 frames Best of 25 frames Best of 25 frames Best of 33 frames
                           
31 July            
  Judd Trump (ENG) (1)  10
6 & 7 August
  Tom Ford (ENG)  8  
 England Judd Trump (1)  13
2 & 3 August
   China Yan Bingtao (16)  11  
  Yan Bingtao (CHN) (16)  10
10 & 11 August
  Elliot Slessor (ENG)  7  
 England Judd Trump (1)  9
4 & 5 August
   England Kyren Wilson (8)  13  
  Stephen Maguire (SCO) (9)  3
8 & 9 August
  Martin Gould (ENG)  10  
 England Martin Gould  9
31 July & 1 August
   England Kyren Wilson (8)  13  
  Kyren Wilson (ENG) (8)  w/o
12, 13 & 14 August
  Anthony Hamilton (ENG)  w/d  
 England Kyren Wilson (8)  17
1 & 2 August
   Scotland Anthony McGill  16
  John Higgins (SCO) (5)  10
5 & 6 August
  Matthew Stevens (WAL)  5  
 Scotland John Higgins (5)  11
1 & 2 August
   Norway Kurt Maflin  13  
  David Gilbert (ENG) (12)  8
10 & 11 August
  Kurt Maflin (NOR)  10  
 Norway Kurt Maflin  10
3 August
   Scotland Anthony McGill  13  
  Jack Lisowski (ENG) (13)  9
7, 8 & 9 August
  Anthony McGill (SCO)  10  
 Scotland Anthony McGill  13
4 August
   Wales Jamie Clarke  12  
  Mark Allen (NIR) (4)  8
  Jamie Clarke (WAL)  10  
31 July & 1 August            
  Mark Williams (WAL) (3)  10
5, 6 & 7 August
  Alan McManus (SCO)  5  
 Wales Mark Williams (3)  13
31 July & 1 August
   England Stuart Bingham (14)  11  
  Stuart Bingham (ENG) (14)  10
10 & 11 August
  Ashley Carty (ENG)  7  
 Wales Mark Williams (3)  10
31 July & 1 August
   England Ronnie O'Sullivan (6)  13  
  Ding Junhui (CHN) (11)  10
7, 8 & 9 August
  Mark King (ENG)  9  
 China Ding Junhui (11)  10
2 & 3 August
   England Ronnie O'Sullivan (6)  13  
  Ronnie O'Sullivan (ENG) (6)  10
12, 13 & 14 August
  Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (THA)  1  
 England Ronnie O'Sullivan (6)  17
3 & 4 August
   England Mark Selby (7)  16
  Mark Selby (ENG) (7)  10
6 & 7 August
  Jordan Brown (NIR)  6  
 England Mark Selby (7)  13
3 & 4 August
   Thailand Noppon Saengkham  12  
  Shaun Murphy (ENG) (10)  4
10 & 11 August
  Noppon Saengkham (THA)  10  
 England Mark Selby (7)  13
4 & 5 August
   Australia Neil Robertson (2)  7  
  Barry Hawkins (ENG) (15)  10
8 & 9 August
  Alexander Ursenbacher (SUI)  2  
 England Barry Hawkins (15)  9
2 August
   Australia Neil Robertson (2)  13  
  Neil Robertson (AUS) (2)  10
  Liang Wenbo (CHN)  5  
Final: (Best of 35 frames) Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, 15 & 16 August.
Referee: Marcel Eckardt
Kyren Wilson (8)
 England
8–18 Ronnie O'Sullivan (6)
 England
Players Session 1: 2–6
Frame 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Wilson 0 62 0 23 67 (63) 9 17 49 N/A N/A
O'Sullivan 81 (56) 55 80 (80) 75 (75) 13 69 106 (106) 60 N/A N/A
Players Session 2: 5–4 (7–10)
Frame 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Wilson 53 (53) 19 92 (92) 79 (50) 82 86 (58) 17 101 (100) 60 N/A
O'Sullivan 61 77 (51) 0 60 25 0 82 10 68 N/A
Players Session 3: 1–7 (8–17)
Frame 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Wilson 74 (73) 15 33 17 12 28 15 7 N/A N/A
O'Sullivan 0 113 (53) 109 (61) 88 (57) 65 (60) 71 (71) 72 (72) 69 N/A N/A
Players Session 4: 0–1 (8–18)
Frame 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Wilson 1 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
O'Sullivan 104 (96) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
100 Highest break 106
1 Century breaks 1
7 50+ breaks 12
England Ronnie O'Sullivan wins the 2020 Betfred World Snooker Championship.

dagger = Winner of frame

Qualifying

The qualifying rounds were played at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

Qualifying for the 2020 World Snooker Championship took place from 21 to 28 July 2020 at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, using an eight-table set-up.[152][153] Starting with a pool of 128 players, the qualifying competition consisted of four knock-out rounds. Originally organised for all matches to be best of 19 frames, the first three rounds were played as best of 11 frames, with only the final round being played as best of 19.[154] The 16 winners of the fourth-round matches progressed to the main stage of the tournament at the Crucible Theatre.[155][156] The 128 qualifiers included 94 tour players ranked outside of the top 16, who were joined by 34 wildcard amateur players.[157][158] The amateur players were selected as follows:[157]

A total of 17 professional players – 13 from mainland China – chose not to participate at the event due to COVID-19 safety concerns: Zhou Yuelong, Xiao Guodong, Zhao Xintong, Li Hang, Yuan Sijun, Marco Fu, Mei Xiwen, Zhang Anda, James Wattana, Zhang Jiankang, Chang Bingyu, Andy Lee, Chen Zifan, Xu Si, Bai Langning, Lei Peifan and Steve Mifsud.[159] The 2002 champion Peter Ebdon vacated his qualifying position after retiring in April 2020.[160] Also, two invited players from the World Women's Snooker Tour, Ng On-yee and Nutcharut Wongharuthai, declined to participate due to COVID-19 safety concerns.[161]

The qualifying draw was released on 10 July 2020.[152] The first qualifying round consisted of 64 players. Professional tour players ranked 81–112 were seeded 65–96, with the remaining tour players and invited amateurs being unseeded. The second qualifying round consisted of players seeded 33–64 against first round winners. The third qualifying round consisted of players seeded 1–32 against second round winners. The fourth qualifying round were played out between the 32 third round winners.[156]

Qualifying draw

The results from qualifying are shown below. Players in bold denote match winners.[151]

  Round 1
Best of 11 frames
Round 2
Best of 11 frames
Round 3
Best of 11 frames
Round 4
Best of 19 frames
                                     
65  Mitchell Mann (ENG) 6   64  Jamie Clarke (WAL) 6   1  Joe Perry (ENG) 4
 Paul Davison (ENG) 2   65  Mitchell Mann (ENG) 1   64  Jamie Clarke (WAL) 6     64  Jamie Clarke (WAL) 10
96  Lukas Kleckers (GER) w/o   33  Sunny Akani (THA) 6   32  Tian Pengfei (CHN) 3   33  Sunny Akani (THA) 7
 Sydney Wilson (ENG) w/d   96  Lukas Kleckers (GER) 2   33  Sunny Akani (THA) 6
80  Billy Joe Castle (ENG) 5   49  Jordan Brown (NIR) 6   16  Hossein Vafaei (IRN) 5
 Rory McLeod (ENG) 6    Rory McLeod (ENG) 1   49  Jordan Brown (NIR) 6     49  Jordan Brown (NIR) 10
81  Barry Pinches (ENG) 6   48  Craig Steadman (ENG) 5   17  Ryan Day (WAL) 6   17  Ryan Day (WAL) 6
 Dean Young (SCO) 0   81  Barry Pinches (ENG) 6   81  Barry Pinches (ENG) 4
88  Peter Lines (ENG) 6   41  Luo Honghao (CHN) 6   24  Stuart Carrington (ENG) 6
 Connor Benzey (ENG) 1   88  Peter Lines (ENG) 5   41  Luo Honghao (CHN) 4     24  Stuart Carrington (ENG) 8
73  Gerard Greene (NIR) 6   56  Oliver Lines (ENG) 2   9  Tom Ford (ENG) 6   9  Tom Ford (ENG) 10
 Brian Ochoiski (FRA) 1   73  Gerard Greene (NIR) 6   73  Gerard Greene (NIR) 3
89  Fraser Patrick (SCO) 6   40  Ken Doherty (IRL) 6   25  Mark King (ENG) 6
 Sean Maddocks (ENG) 1   89  Fraser Patrick (SCO) 4   40  Ken Doherty (IRL) 3     25  Mark King (ENG) 10
72  Thor Chuan Leong (MAS) 6   57  Ian Burns (ENG) 6   8  Michael Holt (ENG) 3   57  Ian Burns (ENG) 6
 Iulian Boiko (UKR) 3   72  Thor Chuan Leong (MAS) 2   57  Ian Burns (ENG) 6
69  Hammad Miah (ENG) 6   60  David Grace (ENG) 6   5  Graeme Dott (SCO) 6
 Florian Nüßle (AUT) 5   69  Hammad Miah (ENG) 1   60  David Grace (ENG) 0     5  Graeme Dott (SCO) 6
92  Amine Amiri (MAR) w/o   37  Martin Gould (ENG) 6   28  Chris Wakelin (ENG) 4   37  Martin Gould (ENG) 10
 Hamza Akbar (PAK) w/d   92  Amine Amiri (MAR) 0   37  Martin Gould (ENG) 6
76  Igor Figueiredo (BRA) 5   53  John Astley (ENG) 5   12  Matthew Stevens (WAL) 6
 Ian Preece (WAL) 6    Ian Preece (WAL) 6    Ian Preece (WAL) 4     12  Matthew Stevens (WAL) 10
85  Simon Lichtenberg (GER) 6   44  Mark Joyce (ENG) 6   21  Ricky Walden (ENG) 6   21  Ricky Walden (ENG) 5
 Adam Duffy (ENG) 2   85  Simon Lichtenberg (GER) 3   44  Mark Joyce (ENG) 3
84  Brandon Sargeant (ENG) 2   45  Jak Jones (WAL) 6   20  Anthony McGill (SCO) 6
 Jake Nicholson (ENG) 6    Jake Nicholson (ENG) 2   45  Jak Jones (WAL) 1     20  Anthony McGill (SCO) 10
77  James Cahill (ENG) 2   52  Sam Baird (ENG) 6   13  Mark Davis (ENG) 4   52  Sam Baird (ENG) 1
 Ben Mertens (BEL) 6    Ben Mertens (BEL) 4   52  Sam Baird (ENG) 6
93  Alex Borg (MLT) 6   36  Liam Highfield (ENG) 6   29  Lu Ning (CHN) 5
 Patrick Whelan (ENG) 4   93  Alex Borg (MLT) 1   36  Liam Highfield (ENG) 6     36  Liam Highfield (ENG) 7
68  Fan Zhengyi (CHN) 6   61  Dominic Dale (WAL) 6   4  Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (THA) 6   4  Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (THA) 10
 Dylan Emery (WAL) 4   68  Fan Zhengyi (CHN) 4   61  Dominic Dale (WAL) 1
67  Chen Feilong (CHN) 6   62  Alexander Ursenbacher (SUI) 6   3  Gary Wilson (ENG) 3
 Aaron Hill (IRL) 2   67  Chen Feilong (CHN) 1   62  Alexander Ursenbacher (SUI) 6     62  Alexander Ursenbacher (SUI) 10
94  Riley Parsons (ENG) 1   35  Andrew Higginson (ENG) 6   30  Daniel Wells (WAL) 5   35  Andrew Higginson (ENG) 8
 Hayden Staniland (ENG) 6    Hayden Staniland (ENG) 0   35  Andrew Higginson (ENG) 6
78  Kacper Filipiak (POL) 6   51  Mike Dunn (ENG) 6   14  Martin O'Donnell (ENG) 6
 Andrew Pagett (WAL) 3   78  Kacper Filipiak (POL) 5   51  Mike Dunn (ENG) 4     14  Martin O'Donnell (ENG) 3
83  David Lilley (ENG) 4   46  Elliot Slessor (ENG) 6   19  Ben Woollaston (ENG) 1   46  Elliot Slessor (ENG) 10
 Antoni Kowalski (POL) 6    Antoni Kowalski (POL) 2   46  Elliot Slessor (ENG) 6
86  Jamie O'Neill (ENG) 6   43  Michael White (WAL) 6   22  Noppon Saengkham (THA) 6
 Oliver Brown (ENG) 5   86  Jamie O'Neill (ENG) 5   43  Michael White (WAL) 4     22  Noppon Saengkham (THA) 10
75  Eden Sharav (ISR) 6   54  Nigel Bond (ENG) 3   11  Lyu Haotian (CHN) 2   75  Eden Sharav (ISR) 2
 Daniel Womersley (ENG) 3   75  Eden Sharav (ISR) 6   75  Eden Sharav (ISR) 6
91  Andy Hicks (ENG) 6   38  Sam Craigie (ENG) 6   27  Anthony Hamilton (ENG) 6
 Reanne Evans (ENG) 3   91  Andy Hicks (ENG) 0   38  Sam Craigie (ENG) 3     27  Anthony Hamilton (ENG) 10
70  Jackson Page (WAL) 6   59  Harvey Chandler (ENG) 2   6  Scott Donaldson (SCO) 6   6  Scott Donaldson (SCO) 5
 Chae Ross (ENG) 3   70  Jackson Page (WAL) 6   70  Jackson Page (WAL) 3
71  Si Jiahui (CHN) 2   58  Ashley Carty (ENG) 6   7  Jimmy Robertson (ENG) 4
 Ross Muir (SCO) 6    Ross Muir (SCO) 4   58  Ashley Carty (ENG) 6     58  Ashley Carty (ENG) 10
90  Jimmy White (ENG) 6   39  Michael Georgiou (CYP) 4   26  Robert Milkins (ENG) 6   26  Robert Milkins (ENG) 8
 Ivan Kakovskii (RUS) 3   90  Jimmy White (ENG) 6   90  Jimmy White (ENG) 1
74  Soheil Vahedi (IRN) 1   55  Lee Walker (WAL) 1   10  Matthew Selt (ENG) 6
 Allan Taylor (ENG) 6    Allan Taylor (ENG) 6    Allan Taylor (ENG) 3     10  Matthew Selt (ENG) 1
87  Duane Jones (WAL) 6   42  Joe O'Connor (ENG) 6   23  Kurt Maflin (NOR) 6   23  Kurt Maflin (NOR) 10
 Christopher Keogan (ENG) 1   87  Duane Jones (WAL) 3   42  Joe O'Connor (ENG) 5
82  Rod Lawler (ENG) 6   47  Fergal O'Brien (IRL) 6   18  Luca Brecel (BEL) 5
 Ross Bulman (IRL) 5   82  Rod Lawler (ENG) 3   47  Fergal O'Brien (IRL) 6     47  Fergal O'Brien (IRL) 9
79  Adam Stefanow (POL) 5   50  Alfie Burden (ENG) 6   15  Liang Wenbo (CHN) 6   15  Liang Wenbo (CHN) 10
 Tyler Rees (WAL) 6    Tyler Rees (WAL) 3   50  Alfie Burden (ENG) 2
95  Ashley Hugill (ENG) 4   34  Robbie Williams (ENG) 4   31  Alan McManus (SCO) 6
 Wu Yize (CHN) 6    Wu Yize (CHN) 6    Wu Yize (CHN) 3     31  Alan McManus (SCO) 10
66  Kishan Hirani (WAL) 6   63  Louis Heathcote (ENG) 6   2  Ali Carter (ENG) 3   63  Louis Heathcote (ENG) 5
 Robin Hull (FIN) 5   66  Kishan Hirani (WAL) 3   63  Louis Heathcote (ENG) 6

Century breaks

Main stage centuries

A total of 79 century breaks were made by 27 players during the main stage of the World Championship.[162]

Qualifying stage centuries

A total of 53 century breaks were made by 33 players during the qualifying stage of the World Championship.[29]

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