UK Championship draw complete as heavyweights clash in opening round in York
A repeat of last year's final in the last 32.
After six days of qualifying for the UK Championship the draw for the opening round in York has been set and there are some blockbuster clashes in the last 32.
Only the top 16 qualify automatically for the Barbican and the star power outside of that elite group is illustrated by this draw, which sees Mark Allen take on Ding Junhui and Ronnie O’Sullivan face Anthony McGill in the first round of the main stage.
Allen and Ding contested last year’s final which the Northern Irishman won in 10-7 from 2-6 behind in a memorable showpiece clash.
O’Sullivan and McGill have played eight times in all competitions and the Scot has won just one of them, but it was a big one, knocking the Rocket out of the 2021 World Championship at the last 16 stage.
Other notable ties in the last 32 in York include Shaun Murphy taking on Hossein Vafaei and the player of the season so far Judd Trump facing young Chinese talent Pang Junxu.
There are a number of very recognisable names that didn’t make it through qualifying, including the likes of Stuart Bingham, Ryan Day, Gary Wilson, Stephen Maguire and David Gilbert.
Si Jiahui, this year’s surprise World Championship semi-finalist also fell early, as did Jak Jones, who enjoyed an unexpected run to the last eight at the Crucible a few months ago.
UK Championship Last 32 Draw
Saturday 25 November
Mark Allen vs Ding Junhui
Mark Williams vs Fan Zhengyi
Kyren Wilson vs Jamie Clarke
Tom Ford vs Noppon Saengkham
Sunday 26 November
Zhang Anda vs Elliot Slessor
Luca Brecel vs Yuan Sijun
Shaun Murphy vs Hossein Vafaei
Ali Carter vs Matthew Selt
Monday 27 November
Judd Trump vs Pang Junxu
Barry Hawkins vs Ben Woollaston
Mark Selby vs Mark Joyce
Jack Lisowski vs Jamie Jones
Tuesday 28 November
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Anthony McGill
John Higgins vs Joe O’Connor
Robert Milkins vs Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Neil Robertson vs Zhou Yuelong
The last 16 ties are then played over Wednesday and Thursday, all the quarter-finals on Friday, both semis on Saturday before a two-session final on Sunday.
The winner will walk away with an enormous first prize of £250,000, while there is some pressure on the top 16 to win their first round matches for the ranking points that come with it.
The top 16 are guaranteed £10,000 in prize money for contesting the last 32, but they only get ranking points if they win their opening match, so any of the elite group falling at the first hurdle could face a tumble down the rankings ahead of the Masters in January.
UK Championship prize money
Last 16: £15,000
Last 32: £10,000
Last 48: £7,500
Last 80: £5,000
Last 112: £2,500
Highest break: £15,000
After coming through his final qualifying game against Scott Donaldson on Thursday night, the always entertaining Hossein Vafaei had a rousing message for the crowd in York.
‘I love playing in the big events with a good atmosphere, as loud as possible,’ he said. ‘My advice to all the fans is to make it loud! Otherwise it’s tough for us to perform. Hopefully it will be a good match with Shaun, it will be an honour for me to share the table with him.’
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