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...