The draw for the Betfred World Snooker Championship takes place at 11am on Thursday, and included among the hopefuls will be Ashley Hugill, who is set to make his Crucible debut.
The Yorkshireman sealed his place in the main draw with a 10-7 win over Joe O’Connor and his latest victory has built on what has been an impressive season to date.
Hugill, a winner of two Challenge Tour events as an amateur, has already claimed victories over the likes of Ali Carter and Kyren Wilson this year but is a huge 500/1 outsider to win the Betfred World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
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The 27-year-old puts his recent success down to very hard work after joining the Star Academy and then the Victoria’s Academy, practising 12 or 13 hours per day.
Hugill revealed: “I’d get there at 9am, play there all day till 9pm, clean the tables and leave at 10pm. I did that for four days a week for two or three years.
“That was the most intense practice I did. That was from when I was about 20 till 23, 24. Seven hours a day does me now.”
The final 16 qualifiers will join the top-16 players in the rankings to make up Thursday’s main draw with the opening matches on Saturday. The 2010 champion Neil Robertson will be going into the tournament as the 4/1 favourite, while Judd Trump is 11/2 and Ronnie O’Sullivan is 6/1.
The first-round matches are the best-of-19 frames, before the players face best-of-25 matches in the second round and quarter finals.
The semi-finals are played out over a best-of-33 frames format, before the remaining two players battle it out for the title in a best-of-35 final.
Ding and Maguire make it to Crucible
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