Snookerbacker

December 8, 2017

UK Championship Quarter Finals

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:00 am

Things are hotting up in York

After a pulsating night on the baize last night which saw Ronnie O’Sullivan narrowly scrape through against Sunny Akani we’re now into Quarter Final Friday. All four quarter finals take place today and as well as the prestige of the UK title itself there is still also the sub-plot of the final line up for The Masters next month still very much in the balance.

Liang Wenbo is in a very precarious position as things stand and he’ll be hoping that the top half of the draw is won by O’Sullivan and that Mark King doesn’t make the final, I think I’m right in saying that if those two things happen he’s safe. Ryan Day now looks almost certain to be lining up in Ally Pally but I’m sure there are anoraks out there who can think of a permutation to stop that happening (I’m guessing a King v anyone but Ronnie final and a certain result in said final would bump Day out)….anyway, this blog is not for anoraks so let’s have a butchers at the four matches taking place today.

Click on the match for the head to head.

1pm

Stephen Maguire v Joe Perry

Two old hands who seem to be at the top of their game this week meet here and one look at the head to head stats shows you who has been the dominant force of the two down the years. It’s almost a decade since Perry last beat Maguire, with 11 meetings since, of varying importance all being won by the Scot. That said, strangely, Perry has won probably their most important match up in the World Championship Quarter Finals back in 2008 in a decider, so if he’s trying to muster up some confidence he could do worse than watch a few shots of that match on You Tube before this afternoon. Quite why Mags has such a dominance over a player who has always been more or less his equal in the rankings for years is a mystery to me but one of the quirks of the game sometimes. Perry was magnificent the other night against Mark Allen and a repeat of that performance has to give him a real chance of breaking this hoodoo, but I’ve been very impressed by Maguire all week and coupled with the head to head will take him to snatch a close one.

Prediction: Maguire 6-4 

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Martin Gould

Just the three past meetings between these two and all of them have been won by The Rocket. I think the one thing we can safely predict here is an open game, Gould seems to thrive sometimes when thrown in the bear pit and it would be no surprise to me if he were to cause an upset here. Ronnie had a long night last night but he seems sharp of mind and focus this week and I don’t think that this will be a factor in the match. I would say however that Ronnie is missing more than he usually does this week and let’s be honest, he should really have lost last night and I dare say a more experienced player would have punished him more than Sunny did. There is a school of thought which says Ronnie already has one and a half hands on the trophy but I’m not sure I agree. I’m going to predict a shock this afternoon, the aftertimers are going to love this one.

Prediction: Gould 6-4

7pm

Shaun Murphy v Mark King

Mark King appears to be riding the crest of a wave of late, a newly found confidence borne of not having to worry so much about where the money for his next tattoo is coming from seems to have given him a real career Indian Summer. Yet again though we have a heavily one-sided match up in terms of head to heads here. The pair have met 14 times and King has won just once, though it must be noted that Murphy’s hold over him was broken in the China Open last year, once Mark had broken his ranking title duck. They met last month in the Champion of Champions on Shaun’s way to lifting the title and although Murphy does have a major edge in their past duels, he never really dishes out a hammering. King’s confidence and cockney sparrow-like charm is quite infectious these days and I think it’s winning him an army of new and nostalgic fans, Murphy gave Ricky Walden a right old walloping yesterday but you’d expect the MK Don to put up more of a fight given his recent form. I think this one will follow a similar pattern to a lot of their previous meetings with Shaun keeping Mark at arms length. Oh yes, I’m not really sure about all this Kojak stuff, it sounds like something that a 5 year old would make up.

Prediction: Murphy 6-4     

Ryan Day v Mark Joyce

The fourth Quarter Final again is heavily weighted in terms of previous meetings. This time, 7 matches played and Day has won 6 of them. You have to say that Day has been extremely impressive this week and for me the most impressive thing about him is that when he’s been asked real questions he has responded, two deciding frames of dominance is not something that you’d immediately associate with Ryan Day but that’s just what he’s dished out in the last two rounds. Joyce is an enigma to me, he just seems every now and again to post results that far outweigh his lowly ranking position while routinely losing to anyone that can hold a cue for three quarters of the season. I’ll obviously favour Day here but anyone betting on this one needs their head examining, it is with absolutely zero confidence or conviction that I make the prediction below, so watch it land.

Prediction: Day 6-3  

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