The Champions Of Champions Snooker Tournament was first introduced into the Professional Snooker Calendar in 2013, with the format being an invite to the winners of a list of pre-determined events.
The tournament proved an instant-hit, with Ronnie O’Sullivan capturing the first two renewals of a tournament whose name would probably appeal to the ego of snooker’s best-ever player. However. O’Sullivan had to give second-best to John Higgins last season, whilst Neil Robertson won the 2015 renewal.
The tournament takes place at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, England, and starts on Monday November 6th.
16 players will take part in the Group-Stages, with two best-of-7-frames group semi-finals and best-of-11-frames final. The Group Winners then also play best-of-11-frames semi-finals, with the Winner of Group 1 playing the Winner of Group 4, and the Winner of Group 2 playing the Winner of Group 3. The final is then played over the best-of-19-frames.
Ding Junhui v Anthony Hamilton
Barry Hawkins vs Ryan Day
Marco Fu v Michael White
Shaun Murphy v Mark King
Mark Selby v Liang Wenbo
Judd Trump v Luca Brecel
Ronnie O’Sullivan v International Championship Winner
John Higgins v Anthony McGill
Ronnie O’Sullivan 5/1, Mark Selby 5/1, Judd Trump 11/2, Ding Junhui 15/2, John Higgins 8/1, Shaun Murphy 16/1, Barry Hawkins 16/1.
Mark Selby arrives her in great form, but the feeling is that he much prefers the prestige of the big ranking tournaments rather than the allure of these big-bucks invitationals. It’s therefore no surprise that he’s yet to reach the final here in the tournament’s four-year history, and he faces a potentially tough group with last year’s English Open winner Liang Wenbo and Judd Trump standing in his way.
Ronnie O’Sullivan seems to relish this challenge though, but he again is unlikely to have an easy time of it with last year’s winner John Higgins in his group, which means there will be no repeat of last year’s final.
Therefore, it could pay to take an interest in Group 1 and Group 2, with Ding Junhui looking to have a great chance of qualifying from Group 1, whilst Shaun Murphy is in the easiest group on paper in Group 2. Should Ding and Murphy progress to the semi-finals, they may not have to meet the big-names they are seeded too and, though the likes of Trump and Higgins could still be tough opponents if Selby and O’Sullivan do fall – it could be worth backing both Ding and Murphy.
2018 Champion Of Champions Tips
Ding Junhui @ 15/2 Bet365, Coral. Ladbrokes
Shaun Murphy @ 16/1 Coral, Ladbrokes