The 32 players just one win away from World Championship qualification

The 32 players just one win away from World Championship qualification

The first to ten frames in each of the 16 matches will join the best players on the planet at the Crucible.

Chris Lincoln

At least six players outside the top 50 of snooker's world rankings will make it to the World Championships in Sheffield next week. Here is a look at the key matches to be played over Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ryan Day (17) vs Peter Ebdon (49)

Undoubtedly one of the most eye-catching ties of the round. Ryan Day has enjoyed a relatively straightforward route through qualification, dropping just three frames in two matches after just missing out on finishing in the top 16 at the end of the season. However, Peter Ebdon knows what is required to be successful in Sheffield after winning the World Championship 16 years ago.

Daniel Wells (65) vs Liam Highfield (64)

A contest that could go right to the final frame with very little to choose between either player. They both pulled off shock victories in the second round with Daniel Wells defeating Zhou Yuelong and Liam Highfield seeing off Tom Ford.

Adam Duffy (99) vs Xiao Guodong (25)

You would expect China's Xiao Guodong to comfortably come through this contest against the lowest ranked player left in the competition but Adam Duffy has been raising eyebrows all week. He defeated Matthew Selt in the second round after beating Mark Joyce in the first game of qualification.

Stuart Carrington (56) vs Zhang Anda (73)

Both players have unquestionable talent and showed their class by pulling off surprise victories in the last round. Stuart Carrington defeated Ben Woollaston whilst Zhang Anda thrashed Martin Gould 10-4. Carrington will be hoping fatigue does not get the better of him after playing 37 frames in his two matches.

Graeme Dott (21) vs Mike Dunn (53)

Former World Champion Graeme Dott has followed an impressive season with impeccable form this week. He will pose an imposing task for Mike Dunn after dropping just three frames in two matches.

Michael Holt (28) vs Robert Milkins (37)

It is unsurprising to see this pairing just one win away from the Crucible but both players have endured busy weeks. Michael Holt has played 34 frames, one less than Robert Milkins, and this contest is likely to be another close encounter.

Rory McLeod (61) vs Lu Haotian (68)

Rory McLeod and Lu Haotian have identical records this week, winning 10-8 and 10-9 in their two qualification matches. As their seedings suggest, there will be very little to choose again between the veteran Englishman and young Chinese hotshot.

Matthew Stevens (52) vs Ken Doherty (77)

Talking of veterans, Matthew Stevens against Ken Doherty provides a match that is certainly rolling back the years. Both players have Crucible pedigree with Stevens finishing runner-up in 2000 and 2005 and Doherty winning the tournament back in 1997.

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Liang Wenbo (19) vs Jamie Jones (51)

Liang Wenbo has been the form player in the qualification rounds, producing a maximum in the first round before falling just short of what would have been a record-breaking second just two frames later. Youngster Jamie Jones will have to be on top form if he is going to defy the odds in this contest.

Jack Lisowski (30) vs Alan McManus (35)

Coming through the same career path as Judd Trump, much has been expected from Jack Lisowski but he has only started to show his promise this season. After a relatively comfortable passage through to the third round, he faces Alan McManus who had to rely on a final frame decider to make it this far. 

Andrew Higginson (59) vs Ricky Walden (27)

Andrew Higginson has a real opportunity of causing upset here with Ricky Walden enduring a torrid season and going close to being knocked out in both rounds of qualification. He had to come from behind to defeat Lee Walker after only narrowly defeating Joe Swail.

Mark Davis (43) vs Joe Perry (22)

Both players have been unstoppable during qualification, dropping just seven frames in four matches between them. Mark Davis produced the only whitewash of the week against Michael Georgiou, following a 10-1 victory against Sanderson Lam.

Tian Pengfei (74) vs Chris Wakelin (55)

Whilst Chris Wakelin has enjoyed a relatively straightforward route to this stage, Tian Pengfei produced one of the surprise results of qualification. Taking on his compatriot and a tip to be a future World Champion, Tian showed his class in a 10-9 victory over Yan Bingtao.

Alfie Burden (71) vs Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (58)

Another big surprise was formulated by Alfie Burden who defeated David Gilbert by the same scoreline in the last round. He faces Thepchaiya Un-Nooh for a place at the Crucible after the Thai hotshot defeated Adam Stefanow, the only amateur to make it to the second stage of qualification.

Jimmy Robertson (34) vs Michael White (31)

Michael White has gradually dropped down the rankings in recent months and has been forced to work hard to make it this far. He won't find this contest straightforward against Jimmy Robertson who has been comfortable in his previous two matches.

Hossein Vafaei (47) vs Stephen Maguire (18)

It has been a straightforward progression for Hossein Vafaei and Stephen Maguire to make it to the third round but it would be difficult to look past the Scotsman who is tried and tested at this level.