January 28, 2010

The Quarter Final Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:45 pm

Yesterday was the busiest day yet on the blog so my duff tip on Hendry the other day hasn’t put most of you off, so that’s good to know. Five out of six yesterday in terms of match winner predictions, so back on track (but still frustratingly yet to have a 100% day). I’m not sure about this three table scenario, Selby musn’t have been too impressed going from a packed arena at Wembley against Ronnie  to a toilet cubicle against King, I wonder if he pulled the ‘do you know who I am’ line when he was told about it. But knowing the jolly jester he probably just took it in good humour and did one of his comedy routines, he’s such a hoot. Good to see that we can rely on the legendary scoreboard on the World Snooker site for updates on these non-TV games, though Selby pondered that shot in the first frame when on a break of 13 for about two hours, strange that…..   

The location for Table 3, coffee's not bad though.

A hastily rescheduled O’Sullivan clash tomorrow, he was originally meant to play in the evening session but now he’s on this afternoon. You wonder why this took the organisers so long to get round to doing and if I had a ticket for tomorrow night in the hope of a glance at the gifted one I’d be a bit miffed. Saying that, they have Williams to entertain them instead, he was just awesome last night and would have beaten anyone. But we’re now getting down to the nitty gritty and in terms of the names left in it it’s still hard to call a winner. But here goes with the day’s preview.     

(Head to Heads in brackets)


QF3 Ronnie O’Sullivan v Mark Allen (0-1)

They have only met once but what a match that was. 13-11 to Allen at the Crucible last year, where he proved he could mix it with the big boys. I was very impressed with Allen yesterday against Stevens where he played as well as anybody has this week. It’s difficult to tell how Ronnie is playing though I have detected a slight improvement in his long potting, if he finally sorts that out he’ll be very near unbeatable. Bingham and Cope have been like lambs to the slaughter, both seemed resigned to defeat when they realised Ronnie had turned up. I did say on yesterday’s blog that Cope’s frame record against the Rocket suggested he may have the fear factor and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up with a record against Ronnie similar to Ali Carter’s (currently 11-0, no prizes for guessing who I’ll be recommending if that’s the final!)   

This is a tricky one to call and I wouldn’t put anyone off backing Allen at 15/8, but I’d expect the Rocket to up his game a bit and I think he might just produce a vintage display here.

A classic side-effect of Ketchup Addiction

Recommended: O’Sullivan to win.   

QF4 Mark Selby v John Higgins (7-4)

I’m a massive fan of both of these. I’m really pleased that the Jester is back in the big time after his win at Wembley and if he recovers from the frostbite he must have suffered playing on ‘that’ table last night this could be a great match. Higgins has impressed me this week but Selby has as good a record against the World Champion as any. The Sheffield decider won by Higgins was the last time they crossed swords and that defeat must have really hurt the jester, who struggled right up until Wembley to put a string of wins together. This is the hardest one to call of the four for me as you can make a solid case for both of them, but if in doubt, my rule is always side with the player with the least question marks and that is Higgins, who I will take to set up a date with Ronnie on Saturday. But this should be very close, shame it’s not on the main table, I’m sure they would wait until after Ronnie given the chance.  

Recommended: Higgins to edge it.


QF1 Ali Carter v Ryan Day (1-6)

I fully expected this to be Robertson against Hendry but one night’s play put pay to that. So let’s deal with what we have here. Carter took full adavntage of sloppy play from Robbo in the last round and Day took advantage of some bizarre lapses in concentration from Hendry (I’m not bitter honest, I just can’t believe they both got through). But just look at that head to head statistic. Ali’s only win over Ryan was in a qualifying match in 2006, other than that Ryan has the beating of him. So why is that? Well sometimes you just have a mental block with certain players but it’s not like Ali has never beaten him so perhaps it’s not that important. But it kind of reminds me of that old Blackadder line ‘doing precisely what we’ve done 17 times before is exactly the last thing they’ll expect us to do this time’. So with Blackadder in mind, I’m going to plump for Day, he’s now finally playing well enough and should go into this quite confident. I had this as an even match up so the fact you can get 6/5 on the Welshman makes it even more tempting.

Did you ever say awubble?

Recommended: Day to win.

QF2 Mark Williams v Stephen Maguire (0-2)

It would probably serve me right if Maguire won this tournament. I’m harder on him than most of the other players (with the possible exception of Barry Pinches). But I just cannot possibly back him, the draws he gets up to the later rounds are unreal, he has now made the last two semi-finals and this quarter final by beating Michael Holt, Stuart Bingham, Peter Lines, Mark King, a dreadful Ryan Day at Wembley, Dominic Dale and Barry Hawkins. Williams on the other hand has clawed his way back into the big time by beating higher seeded players than himself on a regular basis. He is now playing as well as ever and has buried his demons at Newport and now seems to be thriving as the home favourite. This time Maguire’s luck has run out. Williams should give him a thumping here, he’s a class apart from the Scotsman.

Recommended: Williams win (big surprise there then)

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