February 4, 2019

The World Grand Prix

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:52 am

The snooker takes no rest and it’s now time for the World Grand Prix to take centre stage on ITV. This forms the first part of the three ‘Coral Series’ events, a new innovation this season, and pits together the top 32 players on the one season list (or to be more specific the 7 month list) in a 32 man knockout.

Ronnie O’Sullivan returns to competitive action following his dismantling by Judd Trump at The Masters, Judd however, rather than realising that he might have discovered a way to win consistently returned to his old habits in Berlin, whizzing and banging all over the shop in a homage to Naughty Snooker, something that he’s going to have to consign to the snooker history books if he’s going to ever be World Champion.

Ronnie plays Marco Fu tonight, I’ll have to admit I’m surprised to see Marco in this as I can’t remember seeing sight nor sound of him so far this season. He must have done well in something I took no notice of. Among other names that you might not usually expect to see in an event like this are Martin O’Donnell and Noppon Saengkham.

The MO’D is of course a huge favourite with myself, having been the first ever champion of the SB Classic, he’s really improved in all aspects of his game lately under the coaching of Ian McCulloch and he’s having a fantastic season, including of course that run to the Quarter Finals in the UK, he takes on Ali Carter in the first round. As for Thailand’s Noppon (aka the Palindromic Potter), he’s been ploughing away and is a prolific scorer, very much like his fellow countryman Thepchaiya Un-Nooh although nowhere near as quick, he faces John Higgins first up.

German finalists Kyren and Gilberto get a couple of days off and don’t play until Wednesday so fatigue shouldn’t be an issue for them, so all in all it’s an intriguing line up.

In terms of outright bets, the two I like in the top half are Mark Allen and Neil Robertson. Allen didn’t enter Germany and of course lost on Day 1 of his Masters defence, but prior to that he was playing the snooker of his life and I think a couple of bookies might have forgotten that and made a bit too much of his recent absence, at 12/1 he has to be backed.

Robbo is clearly ready to win again and surely it’s just a matter of time before he’s back with a trophy in his hand, whether it’s this week I don’t know as I do fancy Allen in that top half but he’s worth a few quid at 16/1.

In the bottom half, plenty will be looking at a Judd/Ronnie/Selby combo of the probable semi-finalists. But I’m going to take a punt on Barry Hawkins at 33/1, for no other reason than that he usually starts putting in the performances around about now, it might be a bit early and the draw isn’t easy to say the least but he’s worth a bit of shrapnel with Ronnie being far too short in the betting. It’s a while since Selby has been double figures but his inconsistency is still a concern so he’ll not be backed by me this time.

Unfortunately, this is a return to the best of seven format so that kind of takes the shine off it for me, I can’t see why they couldn’t make the matches a bit longer as it’s hardly a rammed schedule, it makes the match betting too much of a lottery for me.

You can play around with the draw here.

The first round schedule is:

Monday February 4


Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Marco Fu
Mark Allen vs Gary Wilson
Barry Hawkins vs Ryan Day
Stuart Bingham vs Zhao Xintong

Tuesday February 5


Martin O’Donnell vs Ali Carter
Jimmy Robertson vs Dark Mavis
Mark Williams vs Yuan Sijun
Neil Robertson vs Xiao Guodong


Joe Perry vs Tom Ford
Stephen Maguire vs Mark King
Judd Trump vs Stuart Carrington
Jack Lisowski vs Ding Junhui

Wednesday February 6


Mark Selby vs Shaun Murphy
John Higgins vs Noppon Saengkham
David Gilbert vs Yan Bingtao
Kyren Wilson vs Matthew Stevens

Recommended Bets: Mark Allen 12/1, Neil Robertson 16/1, Barry Hawkins 33/1.  

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