Well, well, well, who would have thought it? First Shaun Murphy gets hammered by Rob Milkins, then Mark Williams turns back the clock to wallop Barry Hawkins, then Joe Swail produces a vintage comeback to oust Robbo and as if that wasn’t unbelievable enough then Judd Trump loses a decider to Jamie ’30 feathers’ Burnett!! You couldn’t make it up guv’nor.
So what is going on in Chengdu? Only 5 of the 16 left in it are top 16 players and even Ronnie has decided to play seriously this time. It’s almost like all of what we know to be true isn’t true after all and falsehoods and ancient myths become truths and the world has been spun around and turned on it’s head. Next thing Peter Ebdon will be tucking into a steak and Rod Lawler will beat Ronnie’s fastest 147 record. I need a lie down, Nurse – fetch the bedpan.
With all these bizarre twists and turns going on it’s easy to lose sight of what a blessing some of these results are for good old
dictator chairman Bazza’s big ITV event, the Champion of Champions or #COC next week.
Had some of the names knocked out today stayed in Chengdu any longer the start of the tournament would possibly have involved Steve Davis playing Dommo Dale three times on the first day with Mark Selby reffing. But as ever, it’s all fallen into place for Baz and now he can get his top boys like Selby, Robbo, Ding, Murphy and Judd to open the show in style for the great coverage being afforded it by ITV4. Isn’t it odd how it all works out sometimes??? Almost like it was planned.
One person who won’t care much for all this series of unpredictable events is Ali Carter. Hanging by a thread onto his place in Coventry and hoping that either Ronnie, Mark Allen, Ricky Walden, Ballrun Bingham or Marco Fu can win it so he can make his main tour comeback next week. Poor Ali, he’s been through the mill and back and still he must sit and wait to see if he can get his stick out a few weeks earlier than planned following his General Cup success in Hong Kong last week.
In terms of betting, it’s time to just give up on the match bets and get really excited about who we still have left in from the recommended outright bets. Mark Allen at 14/1 came back from a slow start to beat Gouldy today, Peter Ebdon seemed in fine fettle in walloping Joe Perry and the 250/1 recommended on him now looks a little more exciting, we also have Xiao Guodong who is obviously now another big contender, he was 66/1 when recommended, he damn sure ain’t that now.
Here’s the line up for Wednesday. Is it Ronnie’s to lose? I wouldn’t be so sure.
Joe Swail v Ricky Walden
Marco Fu v Rod Lawler
Mark Williams v Sam Baird
Robert Milkins v Xiao Guodong
Peter Ebdon v Jamie Burnett
Michael White v Ian Burns
Li Hang v Ronnie O’Sullivan
Stuart Bingham v Mark Allen
Predicted Winners: Swail, Fu, MJW, Guodong, Ebdon, White, O’Sullivan, Allen.