April 25, 2010

Day 10 Preview: All's Square in Love and War

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:44 pm

Match of the Championship in prospect?

Monday is the day when we decide the final eight.

In all probability this might even eclipse the drama that we saw on Saturday as we start the day with two of the four remaining last 16 matches all square and one of them still very close.

Awaiting the winners are those already sure of a quarter final place, Steve Davis, Neil Robertson, Graeme Dott and Mark Allen.

In the top half of the draw Davis faces Robertson and Ali Carter or Joe Perry will face Murphy or Ding

In the bottom half Allen faces Dott and Mark Selby or Stephen Hendry faces Ronnie O’Sullivan or Mark Williams.

Today sorts all those ‘ors’ out.


Ding Junhui v Shaun Murphy (5-3 Second session of 8 frames)

A bit scrappy from these two today but Ding came out with the advantage. To me he does still look the stronger player of the two with Murphy’s ‘trusted cue action’ just letting him down now and again. I think sometimes he relies on it too much without questioning whether it is as good as he thinks it is. The number of very easy balls he was missing in the first session had to be seen to be believed. But that is what Murphy has in his favour, belief, often to the point of delusion, and while he has that he is still a danger, but he does need the game to match and too often lately that isn’t being delivered. I still fancy Ding for this one and in my view, along with Robertson he still has a say as to whether the trophy will need to pass through customs for the first time since 1980.

Mark Selby v Stephen Hendry (4-4 Second session of 8 frames)

Mark Selby won a frame today at 2-4 frames and0-75 points down that could have given Hendry a huge advantage in the match if he’d lost it. He then dug deep and won the last of the session, even refusing a good chance at a maximum break to level up. Hendry should be at least 5-3 up here but once again he just seems to have taken his foot off the gas when he is in front, something that he never did when he was at his best. Whatever he says, it is quite obvious that he does not have the hunger he once had but you can see that determination in Selby (and Robertson for that matter), and this counts for a great deal at the sports Blue Riband event. The second session resumes this morning and it’s still in the balance, my feeling is that this one is Selby’s to lose, he is playing the better snooker of the two overall and is still showing signs of being a future champion when he gets going, his nerve should not be questioned, but his cue action is not as solid as some. But I’ll stick with him in this one.

He's beginning to annoy me


Allister Carter v Joe Perry (10-6 To a Conclusion)

These two have been bashing balls around now for two sessions and Ali has somehow got to a point where he is only three frames away from the Quarter Finals. Joe struggled in the second session and Ali showed again why he is so highly ranked, he is a great match player in the early rounds. You can’t really see any way back for Joe now in this and with the table on the other side of the arena packed to the rafters, even the paying spectators at the Crucible will want Ali to finish him off early so they can get to see the main event. In terms of the recommended bet on this one, they have at least managed one century between them, one more and the odds are landed.

Mark Williams v Ronnie O’Sullivan (8-8 To a Conclusion)

Many will think that Mark Williams missed out on a golden chance to put Ronnie away in the second session, but I’m sure he won’t feel like that. Two seasons ago he could only have dreamt of coming here with a ranking title under his belt and matching Ronnie shot for shot. Ronnie looks more determined then he has of late but is still playing some inexplicable shots, Mark is more measured and seems to have spent more time at the table, yet it’s level. It’s a coin toss now this one and it would be foolish of me to assert that my call on Ronnie to win is a sure thing, in fact with Williams available now at 6/4 the sensible bet is the Welshman. But I’ll stick with Ronnie.


Ding Junhui v Shaun Murphy (8-8 To a Conclusion)

I wonder how important the last frame of this mornings session will turn out to be to the outcome of this match. Shaun winning it has now set this up nicely. The commentary team are all saying that Shaun is the better player, I think he is marginally but I don’t think it’s that obvious that he is cueing the better of the two. Tonight could be a Crucible classic and may well justify Murphy’s assertion that this indeed is ‘the tie of the round’. I’m sticking with Ding.

Hendry - Looks a bit bored.

Mark Selby v Stephen Hendry (11-5 To a Conclusion)

A very solid performance from Mark this morning should guarantee an early night for the Jester tonight. The centuries bet looks dead as despite there being two (I’d need another two) there has been two breaks of 99, you win some you lose some. But the handicap looks in good stead unless Hendry comes out with a magic wand tonight. But given his demeanour and the form Selby is showing that isn’t something I expect to happen.

This should leave the scene clear for a nerve racking end to the Ding v Murphy encounter in front of the whole of the Crucible crowd.

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