March 23, 2018

Players Championship Semi Finals

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:02 am

It’s been an enjoyable week of snooker in the seaside town of Llandudno in Wales which has benefited hugely from the longer match format. What we are left with is a pulsating Friday night classic semi final between Number 1 seed Ronnie O’Sullivan and a rejuvenated Judd Trump, followed by the home favourite Mark Williams taking on either Shaun Murphy or Anthony McGill tomorrow night.   

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Judd Trump

For all his faults, Judd Trump has as good a record against Ronnie as any top player and has earned the right to have a crack at him here with a very solid performance at the end against Maguire and an absolute butchering of Neil Robertson, including ‘that’ Alex Higgins exhibition blue. Ronnie was workmanlike but brilliant tactically against Dotty and made 4 tons against Ding, so he’s struggling as usual. This is set up to electrify Friday night and I hope they both bring their A game with them and don’t let us down. Ronnie gave Judd a lesson in their most recent meeting, the final in Shanghai back in November and very little has changed in his form since then, except perhaps that he’s playing even better. So the question is, has Judd’s form improved enough to get anywhere near him tonight? He’s making confident noises but he’s got to back this up with action and any sign of weakness or recklessness tonight will surely be pounced upon by a determined Rocket. All being equal I think I’d back Judd to beat anyone else tonight, but not Ronnie. Judd will have to come into this and finish with a pot and safety success both in the high nineties and over eleven frames I just can’t see that happening, but I do think given his form this week that the century bet below is well worth a bet, particularly if you think it will be closer than I do.

Prediction: O’Sullivan 6-3.

Recommended Bet: O’Sullivan (-1.5 frames) at 4/5 and Judd to make at least one century at 5/6. 

Shaun Murphy v Mark Williams

Now that we know Ronnie is awaiting the winner, tonight’s clash represents an opportunity for Mark Williams to join The Rocket in their first main tour final for 18 years. You have to go all the way back to the China Open in 2000 for the last time the two reached the business end together in a ranking event and to think that almost two decades later they might still do it all again is quite amazing really. Williams is still in top top form and despite a late rattle from Ryan Day in the last round he’d all but won the match in the first hour. Murphy was a little less impressive in his victory over McGill and they seem to be milking this back injury for all it’s worth despite the fact that he keeps winning. The vast majority of their head to heads have been in minor events and they have only met over this distance or longer twice, Williams winning both times. I think most snooker fans would like to see MJW and Ronnie lock horns on Sunday and I’m included in that, but you have to bet with your head so I’m not having a bet here because this is really a coin toss, but gun to head, I think Williams will deliver and give the fans the final they want.

Prediction: Williams 6-5 

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