January 19, 2019

The Masters Semi-Finals

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:51 am

Well, that was fun while it lasted. Anyone who has been keeping up to date with all things snooker on Twitter this week will have seen the centuries bet I requested gain some momentum, but alas, last night saw the end of the 66/1 dream as Neil Robertson and Barry Hawkins failed to muster up a ton between them, but at least you are spared me going on about it forever and a day so every cloud…..

It’s a stellar line up for the last four as you’d expect from The Masters. Ronnie O’Sullivan remains a strong favourite to lift the Paul Hunter trophy on Sunday and while he’s not been at his sparkling best he’s not yet been troubled and has eased his way through, he plays Ding Junhui (head to head here) who came through a decider against Luca Brecel in the last round which included of course the three miss frame forfeit on his part.

These two met in the famous final here back in 2007 when the London racists were out in force and made Ding cry. The crowd are getting rowdier and rowdier as the weekend approaches with one particular absolute helmet having to be removed as he shouted ‘Barry’ for the millionth time, clearly an oxygen thief with a very limited vocabulary.

Ding is a totally different human being these days and in both his walk-ons he’s come down the steps with a big smile on his face and fist-pumping people who aren’t even asking for one, I swear he fist pumped someone’s head the other day, hopefully it was the racist from 12 years ago. Anyway, he’s clearly in a very good place mentally at the moment and while his game isn’t as sharp as it might be, his bonce is bang on the money.

Ronnie gave a strange interview to his pals at Eurosport the other day, seemingly a little frosty early on towards Colin Murray whilst almost sitting on top of a stoic Alan McManus, who looked at one point like Ronnie’s ventriloquist dummy with The Rocket’s arm lodged up his backside, but eventually Ronnie released a clearly relieved Angles and let him sit undisturbed once he got his mouth into gear. It’s as close to unhinged as we’ve seen him in a while but on the table his chimp is definitely in its box eating bananas rather than swinging from the TV lights in a tyre throwing shit at the referee. I can see a better performance from him today and perhaps a couple of tons, I’ll go with 6-3 to O’Sullivan. His old pal Andy Goldstein is back today as Colin heads off to the footy so his interview later will probably be less of a spectacle, much to Alan’s relief.

In the other semi-final Judd Trump takes on his Grove stablemate Neil Robertson (head to head here)They last met here in 2016 when Judd won in a decider and there won’t be many out there who won’t be expecting another close one tonight in what I’m sure will be a real ‘Saturday night’ atmosphere in London, god help us.

Judd has definitely looked a lot more solid this week and is keeping the naughty snooker to the bare minimum, only occasionally showing signs that he’d like to really lamp one. He’s been working hard on his game and practising more than ever and it’s clearly paying off, he’s getting the game that he needs to have now to be any threat in Sheffield and his fans, while missing the old Judd, will I’m sure be hoping new Judd keeps this winning attitude going.

By a similar token, Robbo is regaining his form and looks to be approaching something like his best as we move into the juicy part of the season. How he didn’t make at least one ton against Barry is beyond me but the main thing (for him at least) is that he’s winning a lot of frames in one visit, something that Judd is perhaps not doing as regularly as he is so I’m thinking that might be the difference between the two today.

In terms of a prediction, I’ll take Robbo to edge it 6-4 and set up a final against O’Sullivan, in terms of a bet, a bit of interest only for me as I deflate from the excitement I’ve been having since day one, those 66/1 pokes don’t come round too often….

Recommended Bet: Double pays just over 11/2 on O’Sullivan to make more than 1 century and Robertson to win.


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