October 29, 2012

International Championship Day Three

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:51 pm

Time to Float.

Day Three sees eight matches over in Chengdu and amongst those in action are Mark Williams, Mark Allen, Judd Trump and Sheffield’s own Ding Junhui.

Day two saw one of the biggest shocks in a snooker event this season as Shanghai Masters winner John Higgins crashed out to local man (well he’s Chinese, that counts as local to me) Cao Yupeng. Higgins looked to be coasting at 2-0 up but Yupeng then came to life as Higgins started to miss a few.

Those of you who have been following the blog for far longer than is really healthy for your long term wellbeing and ultimate happiness in life will know that I have been banging on about Yupeng for a while now, but I didn’t see this result coming at all with Higgins seemingly in the mood again recently.

Mark Selby produced a clinical rather than brilliant performance against Ali Carter who was another that didn’t look quite with it out there. Selby is clearly cueing well though and flagged his intent for the week with a fairly comfortable 6-3 win.

On the other table the wildcard Lu Ning won an absolute marathon against Barry Pinches in a decider. It started at 6.30am (UK Time) and finished around 12.30pm, they did get booted off the table for half an hour while the second session crowd made their way in but even so, this was a very long drawn out affair. Ning was 5-2 up when both the other matches had finished, but Pinches refused to lie down and even came close to pinching the decider after needing three snookers. The referee is recovering in hospital with two imported buxom blonde nurses at his beck and call, it’s the least the poor bloke deserves.

There were just two matches in the second session and they saw wins for Welsh/Englishman Dom Dale and Well Welsh Welshman Matthew Stevens. Dale played very well indeed and missed very little in beating Graeme Dott, who is the first of my outright selections to bite the dust. He’s a funny player is Dale and you never really know what to expect but all credit to him for the win as for me that was among some of the best stuff I have seen him play on TV for many years, in fact it’s as good as I think I ever remember seeing him play on TV at all.

Matthew on the other hand looked to be heading for an early night (or possibly not knowing him) when surging ahead against his young wildcard opponent who doesn’t seem to have been taught the value of a good percentage safety or dump shot just yet, he has time on his side though as he only looks about 7. Somehow Stevens was pegged back but fell over the line 6-5 to take his place in the last sixteen, no doubt mightily relieved to do so. His opponent can now go back to nursery to learn how to spell ‘safty, safetie, sayftey…oh never mind.

In terms of betting, the bet on the wildcard paid up but Higgins was solely responsible for this being a losing day. Thankfully, results of that magnitude in shock value are still relatively few and far between in longer matches and I don’t think anyone, hand on heart and even with the benefit of hindsight saw that coming given John’s recent form and even more so after the way he started the match.

Anyway, let’s see what we have here….

Tuesday October 30 

Mark Williams v Dark Mavis Result: 6-4 Mavis
Stephen Maguire v Jamie Burnett Result: 6-3 Maguire
Martin Gould v Marco Fu Result: 6-5 Fu
Mark Allen v Robert Milkins Result: 6-2 Allen

We meet again

MJW has met Dark Mavis on four occasions, Mavis won a PTC match between the two but we know that Williams isn’t really that fond of them and rarely seems to give them 100% the three other scorelines are all in full ranking events have been 10-3, 9-3 and 5-1 (24 frames to 6) in favour of the King of the Floaters. Williams is widely recognised as the most successful player ever in China and for me he is a cracking bet tomorrow to land the handicap, the tables seem to be playing very nicely which is often the key with him so it’s time for the first maximum bet of the week. Stephen Maguire renews relations with Jamie Burnett and leads their head to head encounters 2-1, including of course ‘that’ UK Championship match of which we do not speaketh anymore. Maguire has started the season well and to a lesser extent so has Burnett, but between the two there is still a gulf in class and I’d expect Mags to land the spoils again here against an opponent whose game he is very familiar with. Martin Gould holds a 2-1 advantage over Marco Fu, both wins being tight fought first round Crucible affairs. Gould needs a run in this to help him secure a spot at the Masters and with Ali Carter out this now becomes even more important, he recently won his first PTC event after a spell in the doldrums and some coaching that ironed out some problems for him. Fu is also in form and reached the quarters in Antwerp following a runners-up spot in a previous PTC to Rod Lawler, the bookies can’t split them and neither can I. Mark Allen comes fresh from his Belgian triumph and in great form, he faces Rob Milkins aka Mill Hopkins for the first time since the 2007 World Championship, when Allen won 10-4, lots has happened since then. You have to fancy Allen but I think his price is too short against a dangerous player who is capable of causing an upset and also has recent solid form in China, no bet.

Recommended Bet: 5 points on Williams (-1.5 frames) at 4/5 generally.

Ding Junhui v Zhou Yuelong Result: Ding 6-1
Judd Trump v Fergal O’Brien Result: Judd 6-3
Stuart Bingham v Aditya Mehta
Ricky Walden v Lu Ning

Zhou Yuelong is here by virtue of his bye in the first round over the newly crowned World Billiards Champion Pankaj Advani, who qualified for this but elected to play in his first passion’s event instead. Congratulations to him on his triumph in Leeds which was the right decision for him and it turns out, fully justified. Yuelong faces Ding Junhui and I know better than to think about lumping on the main man against a Chinese opponent no matter how much of a certainty he appears to be on paper, don’t touch it gang, it’s just not worth the hassle. Next we have a real clash of styles between Judd and The Ferginator, they are 2-2 on the head to heads but the two most recent encounters have been post-naughty days for Judd and he’s won them both 4-0, suggesting that Fergal hasn’t quite got a handle on him, Judd is my main tip for the title and it’s encouraging that Higgins is no longer a threat in his section, I’d be very surprised if he went the same way as John did. A personal favourite of mine is Aditya Mehta I think that this guy has a big future, he is cool, level-headed and has a great way around the table, he plays moneybags Stuart Bingham who by all accounts was awesome in the Premier League just before he caught his flight and nobody would begrudge one of the hardest working and nicest people in snooker his big payday. I think he’ll have a bit too much in reserve for Aditya although it may be closer than some might think it will be, but I fancy Stuart to come through. Finally, Ricky Walden has to be fancied to end the plight of Lu Ning, Ning was very nearly pegged back today by Pinches and dangerous as the wildcards can be, Walden should simply be too good for him, a level too high, though Ning has beaten Shaun Murphy in the past so that doubt is enough for me to say once again, no bet.

Recommended Bet: 3 point treble on Maguire, Trump and Bingham pays just on 11/8 with Ladbrokes. Add Williams for a 2 point acca that pays just over 9/4 at Corals.   

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