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2015 World Snooker Championship

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2015 Betfred World Snooker Championship
World Snooker Championship 2015 Logo.png
Tournament information
Dates18 April – 4 May 2015
VenueCrucible Theatre
CitySheffield
CountryEngland
Organisation(s)WPBSA
FormatRanking event
Total prize fund£1,364,000
Winner's share£300,000
Highest break Stuart Bingham (ENG) (145)
 Neil Robertson (AUS) (145)
Final
Champion Stuart Bingham (ENG)
Runner-up Shaun Murphy (ENG)
Score18–15
2014
2016

The 2015 World Snooker Championship (also referred to as the 2015 Betfred World Snooker Championship for the purposes of sponsorship) was a professional snooker tournament, that took place from 18 April to 4 May 2015 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England. It was the 39th consecutive year that the World Snooker Championship had been held at the Crucible and this was the final ranking event of the 2014/2015 season. Betfred sponsored the event for the first time in three years, having previously sponsored the tournament from 2009 to 2012. Qualifying for the event took place between 8 and 15 April 2015 at the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield.

Mark Selby was the defending champion, having defeated Ronnie O'Sullivan in the 2014 final. Selby lost 9–13 in the second round to event debutant Anthony McGill. Selby fell to the Crucible curse, becoming the 16th first-time champion unable to defend his title at the venue. Shaun Murphy the 2005 winner met Stuart Bingham in the final. Bingham, a 50–1 outsider at the start of the tournament, defeated Murphy 18–15 in the final to win the first world title of his 20-year professional career. At the age of 38, Bingham became the oldest player to win the title since Ray Reardon in 1978.

The tournament featured a total of 86 century breaks, a record for the championships and higher than 83 centuries set in 2009. The highest break was 145, achieved by both Bingham and Neil Robertson. The event had a prize fund of £1,364,000 with the winner receiving £300,000.

Overview[edit]

The World Snooker Championship is an annual cue sport tournament and the official professional world championship of the game of snooker.[1] Founded in the late 19th century by British Army soldiers stationed in India,[2] the sport was played in the United Kingdom.[3] In modern times, however, it has been played worldwide, especially in East and Southeast Asia nations such as China, Hong Kong and Thailand.[4]

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.[5][6] The first world championship in 1927 was won by Joe Davis, the final being held in Camkin's Hall, Birmingham, England.[7][8] Since 1977, the event has been held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, England.[9] Stephen Hendry is the most successful player in the modern era, having won the championship seven times.[10][a] England's Mark Selby won the previous year's championship by defeating countryman Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final 18–14.[13] The winner of the 2015 event earned prize money of £300,000, from a total pool of £1,364,000.[14] The event was sponsored by sports betting company Betfred having previously sponsored the event from 2009 to 2012.[15][16][17]

Format[edit]

The 2015 World Snooker Championship was held between 18 April and 4 May 2015 in Sheffield, England.[6] The tournament was the last of 11 rankings events in the 2014-15 snooker season on the World Snooker Tour.[18][19][20] 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 8 and 15 April 2015 at the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, finishing three days before the start of the main draw.[6] This was the 39th consecutive year that the tournament had been held at the Crucible, and it was the 47th successive world championship to be contested through the knockout format after reverting from a challenge match system in the 1960s.[6]

The top 16 players in the latest world rankings automatically qualified for the main draw as seeded players.[21][b] 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.[21] 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.[21][6]

Prize fund[edit]

The prize fund of the event was raised to £1,364,000 from the previous year's £1,214,000.[22] The breakdown of prize money for this year is shown below:[14]

  • Winner: £300,000
  • Runner-up: £125,000
  • Semi-final: £60,000
  • Quarter-final: £30,000
  • Last 16: £20,000
  • Last 32: £12,000
  • Last 48: £9,000
  • Last 80: £6,000
  • Non-televised highest break: £1,000
  • Televised highest break: £10,000
  • Total: £1,364,000

Participant summary[edit]

The event featured 144 participants, with 128 competing in qualifying alongside 16 invited players.[23] The top 16 seeds automatically qualified for the main draw based on the snooker world rankings prior to the tournament. Defending champion Mark Selby was seeded 1, while other seeded places were allocated based on the latest world rankings. The one exception was Ali Carter, who was seeded 13, despite being ranked 31, because his seeding had been frozen while he underwent treatment for cancer.[24] This meant that Michael White, ranked 16, had to play in the qualifying tournament. For the first time, players ranked 17–32 had to win three qualifying matches, rather than one.[25][26]

Ten former world champions competed in the tournament. Peter Ebdon, Steve Davis, and Ken Doherty lost in the qualifying rounds,[27][28][29] but Graeme Dott successfully qualified for the main stages.[30] Six other former champions (John Higgins, Shaun Murphy, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, and Mark Williams) automatically qualified by virtue of their top 16 rankings.[25] Despite losing 1–10 to Kurt Maflin, Davis became the first player to compete in a total of 100 World Championship matches, including qualifiers.[31] Ten-time women's world champion Reanne Evans attempted to become the first woman to reach the televised stages of the World Championship, but she lost 8–10 to Ken Doherty in the first qualifying round.[32]

Summary[edit]

Early rounds[edit]

Defending champion Mark Selby was eliminated in the second round

First-round debutants at the Crucible were England's Craig Steadman,[33] and Stuart Carrington,[34] Scotland's Anthony McGill,[35] and Norway's Kurt Maflin.[36] McGill and Carrington had both played at the Crucible before, in the Junior Pot Black in 2006.[37] Mark Selby narrowly escaped a first-round exit, recovering from 8–9 down against Maflin to clinch a 10–9 win.[38] In his match against Steadman, Ronnie O'Sullivan risked a sanction for removing a pair of uncomfortable shoes and playing briefly in his socks, before borrowing a replacement pair of shoes from tournament director Mike Ganley.[39] Ali Carter, back at the Crucible after extensive treatment for cancer, won his match 10–5 against Alan McManus.[40]

Mark Selby succumbed to the Crucible curse in the second round, losing 9–13 to Anthony McGill to become the 16th first-time champion who failed to defend his title since the tournament moved to the Crucible in 1977.[41] Ding Junhui defeated John Higgins 13–9 to reach only his third quarter-final in nine years.[42] Barry Hawkins reached the quarter-finals after defeating Mark Allen 13–11, coming back from 8–11 behind in the final session.[43] Stuart Bingham reached his second Crucible quarter-final, winning seven out of the last eight frames to defeat Graeme Dott 13–5. Three of the other four-second round matches ended with 13–5 wins for Ronnie O'Sullivan over Matthew Stevens, Shaun Murphy over Joe Perry, and Neil Robertson over Ali Carter. Judd Trump defeated Hong Kong's Marco Fu 13–8.[44]

Quarter-finals[edit]

Judd Trump defeated Ding Junhui 13–4 to reach his third World Championship semi-final, while Shaun Murphy defeated the last remaining qualifier Anthony McGill 13–8 to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2009.[45] Stuart Bingham reached the first career semi-final with a 13–9 victory over tournament favourite Ronnie O'Sullivan, who had beaten Bingham 13–4 at the same stage of the tournament two years prior.[46]

A controversial incident occurred in the fifth frame of the match, when O'Sullivan placed his chalk on the table and used it to line up a shot. Referee Terry Camilleri did not penalise O'Sullivan, even though the rules of snooker call for a seven-point foul if a player uses an object to measure gaps or distances. The referee's handling of the incident was questioned from the commentary box by former world champion Ken Doherty and on Twitter by former tour referee Michaela Tabb.[47] In the last quarter-final match, Barry Hawkins defeated Neil Robertson 13–12 to reach the semi-finals for a third consecutive year.[48] Hawkins and Robertson produced four century breaks each to equal the record of eight centuries in one match, and set a new record for a 25-frame match at the Crucible.[49] Their encounter also included the longest frame in the tournament, at 70 minutes and 22 seconds.[50]

Semi-finals[edit]

All four World Championship semi-finalists were English.[50] Shaun Murphy was the only former champion to reach the last four.[51] The first two sessions between Murphy and Barry Hawkins were one-sided, with Murphy taking a 6–2 lead and then extending it to 13–3. Even though Hawkins won five out of eight frames in the third session, preventing Murphy from winning the match with a session to spare, Murphy wrapped up a 17–9 victory in the final session to reach the third World Championship final of his career.[52] With five century breaks from Murphy and three from Hawkins, the match again equaled the record for the most centuries in a professional match at the Crucible.[53] In a much closer encounter, Stuart Bingham led Judd Trump 5–3 after the first session, 9–7 after the second, and 13–11 after the third.[54] From 14–16 down, Trump produced two consecutive century breaks to force a deciding frame, but Bingham prevailed in the decider to defeat Trump 17–16 and reach his first World Championship final.[55]

Final[edit]

Stuart Bingham won the final

At the age of 38, Stuart Bingham was the oldest first-time finalist at the Crucible since 45-year-old Ray Reardon in 1978, although Reardon had already won five world titles at other venues by that point in his career.[56] It was the third appearance in the final for Shaun Murphy, who won the title in 2005 with an 18–16 victory over Matthew Stevens and was runner-up in 2009 when he lost 9–18 to John Higgins.[57][58] The final was refereed for the first time by Olivier Marteel, from Koksijde in West Flanders, Belgium. He was the first Belgian to take charge of a World Championship final, and the second referee from continental Europe to do so, after Jan Verhaas.[59]

In the opening session of the final, Murphy took a 3–0 lead, but Bingham fought back to end the session all-square at 4–4. In the second session of nine frames, Murphy began strongly, winning four consecutive frames to move 8–4 ahead, but Bingham won four of the next five to reduce Murphy's lead to 9–8 overnight.[60] Bingham's break of 123 in the 14th frame was the 84th century break compiled at the Crucible in 2015, breaking the previous record of 83 centuries set in 2009.[61] In the third session, Bingham won six of the eight frames to move into a 14–11 lead. In the 20th frame, Bingham came close to a maximum break, potting 14 reds and 14 blacks before missing the final red.[62] Although Murphy won four of the first five frames in the final session to draw level at 15–15, Bingham won the 64-minute 31st frame to go 16–15 in front, and then added two more frames for an 18–15 victory and his first world title.[63]

Bingham had odds of 50–1 to win the event prior to the tournament.[64] The achievement made him the oldest player to win the title since Ray Reardon in 1978. He was the third oldest winner in Crucible history after Ray Reardon who was 45 in 1978 and John Spencer who was 41 in 1977.[c][65] Winning the title also took him to a career high of second in the world rankings.[64] The final was noted for its high standard of break-building, with six century breaks and 24 more breaks over 50 in the 33 frames played.[66]

Main draw[edit]

Shown below are the results for each round. Numbers in brackets denote players seedings, whilst players in bold denote match winners.[67][68][69] The draw for the first round took place at Hallamshire Golf Club on 16 April 2015, one day after the end of the last qualifying round.[70][71]

First round Second round Quarter-finals Semi-finals
Best of 19 frames Best of 25 frames Best of 25 frames Best of 33 frames
                           
18 April            
 England Mark Selby (1)  10
23 & 24 April
 Norway Kurt Maflin  9  
 England Mark Selby (1)  9
18 & 19 April
   Scotland Anthony McGill  13  
 Scotland Stephen Maguire (16)  9
28 & 29 April
 Scotland Anthony McGill  10  
 Scotland Anthony McGill  8
22 April
   England Shaun Murphy (8)  13  
 England Joe Perry (9)  10
26 & 27 April
 China Zhang Anda  4  
 England Joe Perry (9)  5
22 & 23 April
   England Shaun Murphy (8)  13  
 England Shaun Murphy (8)  10
30 April 1 & 2 May
 Finland Robin Hull  3  
 England Shaun Murphy (8)  17
19 & 20 April
   England Barry Hawkins (5)  9
 England Barry Hawkins (5)  10
24 & 25 April
 England Matthew Selt  9  
 England Barry Hawkins (5)  13
21 April
   Northern Ireland Mark Allen (12)  11  
 Northern Ireland Mark Allen (12)  10
28 & 29 April
 Wales Ryan Day  3  
 England Barry Hawkins (5)  13
20 & 21 April
   Australia Neil Robertson (4)  12  
 England Ali Carter (13)  10
25, 26 & 27 April
 Scotland Alan McManus  5  
 England Ali Carter (13)  5
19 & 20 April
   Australia Neil Robertson (4)  13  
 Australia Neil Robertson (4)  10
 Wales Jamie Jones  2  
20 & 21 April            
 China Ding Junhui (3)  10
23, 24 & 25 April
 England Mark Davis  7  
 China Ding Junhui (3)  13
18 & 19 April
   Scotland John Higgins (14)  9  
 Scotland John Higgins (14)  10
28 & 29 April
 England Robert Milkins  5  
 China Ding Junhui (3)  4
18 & 19 April
   England Judd Trump (6)  13  
 Hong Kong Marco Fu (11)  10
26 & 27 April
 England Jimmy Robertson  6  
 Hong Kong Marco Fu (11)  8
22 & 23 April
   England Judd Trump (6)  13  
 England Judd Trump (6)  10
30 April 1 & 2 May
 England Stuart Carrington  6  
 England Judd Trump (6)  16
18 & 19 April
   England Stuart Bingham (10)  17
 England Ricky Walden (7)  8
24 & 25 April
 Scotland Graeme Dott  10  
 Scotland Graeme Dott  5
20 April
   England Stuart Bingham (10)  13  
 England Stuart Bingham (10)  10
28 & 29 April
 England Robbie Williams  7  
 England Stuart Bingham (10)  13
21 & 22 April
   England Ronnie O'Sullivan (2)  9  
 Wales Mark Williams (15)  2
25, 26 & 27 April
 Wales Matthew Stevens  10  
 Wales Matthew Stevens  5
21 & 22 April
   England Ronnie O'Sullivan (2)  13  
 England Ronnie O'Sullivan (2)  10
 England Craig Steadman  3  
Final (Best of 35 frames) Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, 3 & 4 May. Referee: Olivier Marteel[59][69]
Shaun Murphy (8)
 England
15–18 Stuart Bingham (10)
 England
103–44, 69–51, 74–5, 0–105, 15–68, 90–0, 7–55, 30–73, 74–57, 106–1, 121–14, 97–41, 1–76, 7–129, 0–113, 76–0, 22–67, 4–87, 40–68, 0–112, 23–95, 80–4, 0–87, 84–0, 7–86, 73–6, 6–102, 75–55, 68–29, 76–0, 56–80, 3–68, 1–88 Match time: 9:53:23 (H:MM:SS)
Average frame time: 17:33 (MM:SS)
Century breaks: 6 (Murphy 2, Bingham 4)
Highest break by Murphy: 121
Highest break by Bingham: 123
103–44, 69–51, 74–5, 0–105, 15–68, 90–0, 7–55, 30–73, 74–57, 106–1, 121–14, 97–41, 1–76, 7–129, 0–113, 76–0, 22–67, 4–87, 40–68, 0–112, 23–95, 80–4, 0–87, 84–0, 7–86, 73–6, 6–102, 75–55, 68–29, 76–0, 56–80, 3–68, 1–88
England Stuart Bingham wins the 2015 Betfred World Snooker Championship

Qualifying[edit]

The 3 qualifying rounds took place between 8 and 15 April 2015 at the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield, England. All matches were best of 19 frames.[72][73][74]

Round 1[edit]

Round 2[edit]

Round 3[edit]

Century breaks[edit]

Televised stage centuries[edit]

There were 86 century breaks in the televised stage of the World Championship.[75] This was the highest in World Championship history, ahead of the 83 scored in 2009.[76][61] For every century break made during the 17-day championship in Sheffield, the title sponsor, Betfred, was due to donate £200 to World Snooker's official charity, the Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice. However, in line with the sponsor's declaration, the donation was rounded up to £25,000 as at least 70 centuries were achieved.[77] Neil Robertson and Stuart Bingham made the highest break of the tournament, both making a 145.[76]

Qualifying stage centuries[edit]

There were 83 century breaks in the qualifying stage of the World Championship:[78] Three players, Tom Ford, Craig Steadman and David Morris each made the highest break of qualifying, 140.

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