January 17, 2019

The Masters Quarter Finals

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:15 am

With eight of the original sixteen still left it’s now time to move on to the Quarter Finals of this great tournament. The first round produced quite a few moments of drama and the odd shock with notable early fallers including the defending champion Mark Allen and four times World Champion John Higgins who both lost in deciders. So who can make it to the last four?

Click on the match for the head to head stats.

Luca Brecel v Ding Junhui (17th Jan – 7pm)

A match up between two players who’ve not really been quite themselves this season but one of them will find himself in the semi-finals after this. Luca produced the goods in the first round against Mark Allen but his big issue has always been maintaining that high standard consistently. Ding put in a workmanlike performance in Round 1 against a hapless Jack Lisowski but on first round form he’ll need to step up a gear here to win. Luca appears from his interviews to have a new hunger for the game, he’s had issues with his cue and his shoulder that now both appear to be sorted and it also seems that he’s been a little hurt by criticism on social media that he doesn’t practice very much, so much so that he’s decided to do the sensible thing and bin it. Ding however looks happy and incredibly relaxed, the family life clearly suits him and as ever when he gets going he is absolutely devastating in the balls. I’ve ummed and aaared on this one as I initially thought Luca would step up and win, but as the hours have passed I’ve now come to my senses, experience wins here and that has to be Ding.

Prediction: Ding to win 6-3 

Ryan Day v Ronnie O’Sullivan (17th Jan – 1pm)

Not for the first time in my life I was called ‘careless’ the other day, this time it was by the World Champion, who said that I was careless for not noticing how often Ryan Day wins deciders in one visit, as he did against John Higgins on day one. I’ll admit it’s a trend that I hadn’t noticed and I still haven’t checked the validity of Mark Williams’ claims, so if anyone would like to I am happy to accept the tag. Ronnie, by his own standards was not fizzing in round one but we’re getting so used to him looking unbeatable it’s a surprise when he only knocks in a couple of tons in a match, his opponent Stuart Bingham for whatever reason just didn’t turn up and Ronnie simply went about his business to win in a canter. Surprisingly, these two haven’t met in anything meaningful since 2011 and Day has in fact won their last two meetings, but back then Ronnie’s chimp was totally out of it’s box and causing carnage wherever it went, he’s a different kettle of chimps these days and I expect him to do the job here, he’ll probably lose the first frame again though

Prediction: O’Sullivan to win 6-3  

Mark Selby v Judd Trump (18th Jan 1pm)

Two players coming into this in good form and without doubt on paper this is the tie of the round. Judd ditched the naughty snooker in dispensing with Kyren in round 1, the first four frames were as good as I have seen him play in terms of maturity and matchplay, he looked determined, played the right shots on all occasions and was ruthless in punishing Kyren’s carelessness. Selby started to be Selby again in his match against Maguire, tons for fun and looking like he’s getting his game back in shape just in time for the run up to Sheffield, where this year I think he’ll be the man to beat. It’s surprising how few times these two have met in anything meaningful, but where they have it’s 3-3, with Trump winning all three they have played over more than best of nine. It’s so difficult to predict what will happen here and in terms of a bet I’d say it’s a just sit and watch it match rather than wasting your money. I’ll side with Trump because he has the look of someone who means business this week and you have to factor in that Selby hasn’t been as consistent as him this season.

Prediction: Trump to win 6-4 

Barry Hawkins v Neil Robertson (18th Jan 7pm)

I’m really looking forward to this one. The Hawk was clinical in putting away Shaun Murphy in round one, who like Bingham, Lisowski and Wilson seemed to fall apart at the seams when faced with the Ally Pally crowd. Robbo looked very impressive from 3-1 down against Williams and in full flow it’s very difficult to see him missing at times, if he keeps up the kind of form he showed in winning those last five frames I fancy him to make the final this week. Barry tends to save his best for the big occasions and it doesn’t get much bigger than this so this is an intriguing match up. Hawkins got the better of the two in last season’s China Open semi-final but in meaningful matches Robbo holds a slight advantage, their most famous encounter saw a 13-12 win for Barry at The Crucible in 2015 and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if this one goes the distance too, but on first round form, it’s Robbo for me.

Prediction: Robertson to win 6-4  

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