There will no doubt be shock results at the Crucible, but what constitutes a shock?

For instance, would Mark Allen beating Stephen Hendry be a shock considering he did so at the same stage of this season’s UK Championship?

Would Marco Fu beating Ding Junhui be a shock? Or Matthew Stevens beating John Higgins?

The biggest shock of them all at Sheffield was Tony Knowles’s 10-1 trouncing of the then defending champion Steve Davis in 1982.

However, if Liu Chuang beats Ronnie O’Sullivan this year it will dwarf that and then some. It would be the most surprising victory in the sport’s history.

To qualify as a shock, the losing player must be one of the very top players and the winner has to be a virtual unknown, or someone whose career has been going downhill.

Stephen Hendry was famously ‘shocked’ twice in the first round, by Jimmy White in 1998 and Stuart Bingham in 2000. He also lost to Nigel Bond in 2006 but this wasn’t such a shock because Hendry was not considered the title favourite, as he had been the previous two times.

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s defeat to David Gray in 2000 was a surprise, as was John Higgins’s to Mark Selby in 2006.

Steve Davis was not expected to lose to Peter Ebdon in 1992 and John Parrott’s defeat to Rod Lawler in 1996 was a complete surprise.

So where will the shocks come this year?

Looking at the first round matches, I think Stephen Maguire could be vulnerable against Anthony Hamilton, which would be a surprise result because Maguire’s had a good season and just won the China Open.

Also, I wouldn’t rule out Mark King upsetting Mark Selby.

However, the whole point about shocks is that you don’t see them coming...


Anonymous said...

Thankyou David, a fascinating post.I would still rate the Davis 10-1 defeat by Knowles as a bigger shock than if Lui Chuang beats Ronnie, partly due to the variable nature of O'sullivans performances. Davis had never played as a professional below a certain level, was odds-on favourite to win the title and had contested the last 5 finals on the circuit. He was viewed as being so much better than the rest of the field (only Griffiths had been running him close) and had won the other tournament over distance that season (the UK) by beating two of his main rivals 9-0 and 16-3. The shock against Knowles wasnt just the defeat but also the scoreline- he had never lost a match by a wide margin in his professional career. If Ronnie were to lose 10-0 or 10-1 it might begin to be comparable! Unless someone comes to dominate at the level Davis did then (or Hendry in the mid 90s) I do not think a shock of that magnitude is possible. I would not be surprised at victories for either King or Hamilton this year as the pressure of expectation may overwhelm their opponents. Defeats for O'Sullivan, Day, Williams, Doherty and Murphy would be surprises for me but not shocks on the scale of the past as all players in the draw except for the very promising and talented Chuang and Wenbo have proved themselves winners of many matches at final venues in the past. Ding, Hawkins and Cope are the only other 3 players not to have already won a match at the crucible. I wonder if this will prove to be a factor as it has many times in the past. John Hogarth

Anonymous said...

I would say, it would be a surprise if Dott wins his match against Perry. The other one would be Harolds win over Murphy.

Anonymous said...

It's a sad time when I would consider it a shock if Hendry beat Allen but that's how I feel about it at the minute.

Anonymous said...

Good thread David;

I think the standard is so high going in to the 2008 World Championship that it wouldn't be an upset should we lose seeded players like Ding Jun Hui (to Marco Fu)and Ali Carter (to Barry Hawkins)in the opening round.

I think if Ronnie O'Sullivan (to Lui Chuang) and Shaun Murphy (to Dave Harold) lose in the opening round, they will be classed as the upsets of the tournaments but, should any of the other 14 seeds exit at the first hurdle it will just back up my theory that the standard is so high this year.

Although I do feel Graeme Dott (2), Stephen Hendry (8), Stephen Lee (13) and Steve Davis (15) will start as the underdogs in there respective matches.


Anonymous said...

I hope Davis plays well.When he loses next week the whole arena should give him a standing ovation.
I expect Hendry to get knocked out by Allen but hope he manages to surprise me.
The biggest shock of the first round will be Bond beating Robertson or Hamilton knocking out Maguire.

Anonymous said...

I would fancy a good 6-8 of the seeds to go out at the first hurdle, there's not a lot between 8-16 and 17-32 in the rankings.