Snookerbacker

March 21, 2018

Players Championship Quarter Finals

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 5:27 pm

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Ding Junhui

A real belter to kick off the quarter finals on Wednesday evening between two players who look to be peaking at just the right time in the season. That first sentence applies more to Ding, who had a few very barren months and now seems to be coming out of them, whilst Ronnie has been the only player on the tour this season to maintain such a high level of play almost without exception. His application against Graeme Dott had the wee man in bits and as well as his legendary heavy scoring his safety play was probably at the best it’s ever been, he really now must be considered a justified strong favourite for Sheffield in my opinion. Ding benefitted from an out of sorts Mark Allen but looked razor sharp in the balls as he always does at his best, he’s strangely robotic when he’s around the business end of the table yet remains great to watch. It was of course Ding who ended Ronnie’s latest World Championship quest last season but since then Ronald handed out a right old pasting in the World Grand Prix final last month. Ronnie has walloped Ding a few times down the years whereas Ding’s wins tend to be tighter affairs and I think that’s the question tonight, will Ronnie win in a canter or will Ding scrape home? For me, it has to be the former.

Prediction: O’Sullivan 6-2

Recommended Bet – Over 1 century in the match at 5/6

Neil Robertson v Judd Trump

Two stablemates from Grove Snooker (a personal favourite of mine) lock horns on Thursday afternoon and Judd will be buoyed by his win over Maguire in Round 1. All too often he starts like an express train and finishes like a clapped out National Express coach but this time despite the customary lull after firing on all cylinders he kept his head and finished the job, when I personally thought at 4-4 Maguire would win. Robbo gave Luca Brecel the expected hiding after sharing the first four frames and is looking something like the player of old again. Their head to heads are incredibly close, just one frame in it from a total of 217 competitive frames played and dead level in matches though this of course includes quite a few very minor comps. If we look at ones over meaningful distances Judd has had the better of those recently and to me he looks pretty sharp this week and I think Robbo is an opponent he enjoys playing so I’m going to stick with him to set up a semi-final with O’Sullivan on Friday.

Prediction: Trump 6-3 

Anthony McGill v Shaun Murphy

Both came through a different type of pain barrier in Round 1 with Shaun overcoming his ongoing back and neck problem and Ants dispensing with Higgins, who to be fair was beginning to become a bit of a pain in the arse to him. The 6-0 whitewash was something only Nostradamus could have seen coming and took us all by surprise and McGill I’m sure would have had to pinch himself to check it was really happening. In 2016 McGill famously took out Murphy at The Crucible first round having lost to him in the Quarter Finals the year before but it’s been a disappointing season really so far for the Scot who has blown a bit hot and cold and really struggled for consistency, though it has to be said that being drawn against Higgins a lot hasn’t helped. Maybe the win will give him that boost he needs to get back to the top of his game but to me Murphy looked sharp in his opener and I’d be surprised if he didn’t carry that form with him here.

Prediction: Murphy 6-4

Recommended Bet: Over 9 frames at 5/6

Ryan Day v Mark Williams

They’ll be singing in the valleys whoever wins here as two of snooker’s form players try and secure the title of Prince of Wales in their homeland. Day is a revelation recently, I don’t know what this cue he’s found is made of but I wouldn’t mind a bit of it. The winning way is with him and he’s only 3 matches away from winning 3 titles on the bounce on the main tour, Ryan Day….yes, THAT Ryan Day. While he was busy sending the world champion packing his Welsh comrade was putting paid to the new Chinese sensation Yan in convincing fashion. They have met four times this season so far and it’s two apiece and this one could be their decider seeing as Day misses China and all that’s left after that is a possible Crucible clash. Incredibly, Day still needs wins to be sure of his Crucible place given his careless non-qualification for the China Open and whatever happens here it’s out of his hands after this. I think MJW will win and leave Ryan with an agonising wait to see if he’s heading straight to snooker’s mecca or a few miles down the road to the EIS with all the numpties in April.

Prediction: Williams 6-4

Recommended Treble: Trump, Murphy and Williams pays over 4/1             

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