Snookerbacker

April 29, 2019

World Championship Quarter Final Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:06 pm

It’s goodbye to the two table set up after this round

Four more best of 25 frame matches over Tuesday and Wednesday before we reach the one-table situation and it’s fair to say even Nostradamus couldn’t have predicted this eight correctly.

Click on the match for the previous head to head meetings. Pick and choose the recommended bets if you’d like a multiple.

Dave Gilbert v Kyren Wilson (Table 1, Tuesday 10am/7pm, Wednesday 2.30pm) 

Dave Gilbert again faces someone who has stopped him winning a ranking final in the sublime Kyren Wilson, who was patient against a barrage of centuries from Barry Hawkins to pounce when the pressure was on and rattle in two match winning tons of his own. Dave ended the tenure of the reigning champion, who though clearly not feeling himself, still gave it a good go, but Dave played extremely well and looked confident in the balls, something you feel he will have to do again from the off here. Kyren really looks like he is enjoying himself in the Crucible cauldron and absolutely nothing seems to be phasing him. If one thing has been missing from his game this season it is high scoring, frame winning breaks, but even without that he’s got a very high win ratio, so now he has it, watch out world. Having backed Dave at 190/1 a few months ago and recommended against him in both matches so far he’ll be delighted to hear that I’m doing so again, I think the eventual champion comes from the top half of the draw and it could well be Kyren.

Prediction: Wilson to win 13-8

RECOMMENDED BET: Wilson (-3.5 frames) at 11/10

Neil Robertson v John Higgins (Table 1, Tuesday 2.30pm, Wednesday 10am/7pm)

You have to go back almost 6 years to the last time Higgins got the better of Robertson, indeed all but 2 of John’s 7 victories over Neil have come over the best of seven frames or less, when the frames rack up, it’s the Aussie who historically takes command. Higgins closed out a tight fought win over Stuart Bingham last night in typically workmanlike style and anyone who was writing him off before the championship is being reminded of his Crucible pedigree once again as he aims for a third successive final. Robertson has been elevated to tournament favourite now based not only on his pre-tournament form but on his performances so far here, including a dismantling of Shaun ‘ten jobs’ Murphy in the last round. He’s lost less frames than any other player left in this and for me goes into this as a strong favourite. Higgins will obviously put up more of a fight than his previous two opponents but if Neil sticks to the game plan and ignores who is sitting next to him I think we’ll see the Aussie back at the one-table set-up again, after all it’s been long overdue. But I don’t expect the demolition jobs of previous rounds.

Prediction: Robertson to win 13-10

RECOMMENDED BET: Over 4 centuries in the match at 11/8

Gary Wilson v Ali Carter (Table 2, Tuesday 10am/7pm, Wednesday 10am)

Much will be made of the fact that this is a guaranteed qualifier into the semi-final, but as we all know, Ali Carter is a qualifier in name only so it won’t exactly add novelty value if he once again makes it to the one table situation. Gary however, despite his undoubted self-belief would probably have doubted you just a little if you’d told him he’d be one match away from the wall-less arena set up having dispensed with Mark Selby in clinical fashion. There will be those who will tell you that he simply took advantage of a below-par Jester, but I’d disagree, Wilson played very very well, as he has in every match he has ever played at The Crucible and I think Carter will have to play very well here to beat him; better than he has done so far in his first two matches at least. They have met on one occasion, just over a year ago in China when Wilson rode out the 6-4 winner. In terms of scoring, Wilson is doing that a lot heavier than Ali so all the pointers are towards the Wallsend man, The one doubt in my mind has to be the experience levels of the two, but you only get experience by ermm, getting experience, and for me Wilson is playing well enough to win so has to be given the nod.

Prediction: Wilson to win 13-10

RECOMMENDED BET: Gary Wilson to win at 19/10. Gary Wilson (-1.5 frames) at 12/5. Gary Wilson to have the highest break in the match at 11/8.     

Stephen Maguire v Judd Trump (Table 2 Tuesday 2.30pm, Wednesday 2.30pm/7pm)

These two have met once this season when Maguire came out on top in Berlin ending a run of six straight defeats to Judd, which included a couple of real wallopings. Maguire has ridden his luck and then some in this, but sometimes the Snooker Gods like to play things that way and who is to say that his luck is bound to run out eventually? Judd benefited from a complete collapse by Ding Junhui last night, Ding inexplicably seems to have forgotten how to break build and you have to say that unless he really knuckles down his chances of being a world champion are more remote now than ever. On the contrary Judd now carries the hopes of his fans into another second week campaign and this time the naughty snooker is being kept to a minimum and Mr Safety has been invited to the party. Of the two this week it’s Maguire that has been noticeably the heavier scorer and I may be swimming against the tide here in giving him a decent chance here. Judd now has to cope with being a strong favourite to reach the final from this half and that brings with it all sorts of pressure, Maguire I’m sure will just be there to give it a go and I would not be surprised at all if he pulled off the win, I’m not sure how this one will go, I’d say it will either be a walk in the park for Trump or very very close indeed.

Prediction: Either Judd 13-6 or Maguire 13-12.   

RECOMMENDED PUNT: Maguire to win at 7/2.   

RECOMMENDED WILSON SPECIALS (Ladbrokes): 

Kyren and Gary Wilson to win by more than 1 frame, have more than 1 century and have the highest break in both their matches at 20/1.

Kyren and Gary Wilson to win by more than 3 frames, have more than 1 century and have the highest break in both their matches at 50/1.

For there to be 15 or more centuries in the Quarter Finals at 11/4

    

Ali Carter and Kyren Wilson Press Conferences

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 7:05 pm

The next two quarter finalists are known, here is their reaction to making week two Tuesday. 

April 28, 2019

Gary Wilson, Stephen Maguire and Dave Gilbert Press Conferences

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 4:51 pm

A word from the three latest quarter finalists from the weekend ahead of their matches starting up again on Tuesday. Also below a word from the defeated defending champion Mark Williams and also Mark Selby.

April 27, 2019

Neil Robertson Press Conference

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:26 am

A rattle of frames from Neil Robertson saw him coast to victory against Shaun Murphy last night, here is what the first quarter finalist had to say after the match.

April 26, 2019

Kyren Wilson Press Conference

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:36 am

Kyren Wilson became the 16th player through to the second round last with a comfortable win over Scott Donaldson, here is what he had to say afterwards.

Ali Carter Press Conference

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 10:33 am

Ali Carter ended up coming through quite comfortably yesterday against Jack Lisowski, this is what The Captain had to say after the match.

April 25, 2019

Barry Hawkins Press Conference

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 1:37 pm

Barry Hawkins didn’t knock a century in last night but knocked out Li Hang very easily anyway, here is what he had to say afterwards.

 

April 24, 2019

World Championship Round Two

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 3:07 pm

As the opening round draws to a close it’s time to take a look at the ties in the Last 16, this post will be updated as and when matches are known, just click on the match for the head to head record.

Remember that we now move to the 3 session Best of 25 frame matches for the next two rounds of the championship.

We’ve lost Ronnie, we nearly lost Judd and we’ve had a whitewash from a resurgent Shaun Murphy, alongside deciders and one-siders aplenty, what does the next round have in store? Let’s take a look shall we?

TABLE 1

Mark Williams v Dave Gilbert (Friday 25th 2.30pm, Saturday 26th 10am and 7pm)

The defending champion started solidly enough with consistent scoring against Martin Gould and once he got a hold in the match he never really looked like being headed. Gilbert came through a very tough opener against Joe Perry by the same 10-7 scoreline but somehow that one felt a lot tighter than Williams’ match did and Dave held himself together well when Perry threatened a comeback at the end. Their last meeting will have left a snooker scar on Gilbert, it was the World Open final at the start of the season when Dave was just one frame away from his first big ranking title, only to lose the last five frames and hand the title to Williams. But the scar will not really be about the opponent rather than the occasion itself so I wouldn’t say that will play a part here. As you might expect, Williams had the better of their previous encounters and he looked like he was bang up for this in the first round, I can see this being a match where he establishes an early lead and keeps his opponent at arms length.

Prediction: Williams 13-10     

Barry Hawkins v Kyren Wilson (Sunday 28th 10am/7pm, Monday 29th 1pm) 

The pair’s third meeting of the season with Wilson currently ahead 2-1, but it’s Barry who has the overall advantage, which is probably what you’d expect considering that Wilson, these past couple of seasons, is a completely different proposition to the player who struggled to get a frame off Barry at the start of the decade. I expect this to be a very ‘neat’match, with very few mistakes and plenty of breaks over 50, if not over 100. I think it will be won and lost on the tactical side of the game and who has the stronger safety game, something which they are very evenly matched at. Barry hasn’t had a great season by his own standards but much is always made of his Crucible pedigree and his amazing consistency here, but I’m going to side with Kyren just on the basis that he’s very much on the up and has the look once again here of someone who means business.

Prediction: Wilson 13-11

Recommended Bet: Over 23 frames in the match at 9/4 

John Higgins v Stuart Bingham (Saturday 27th 2.30pm, Sunday 28th 2.30pm, Monday 29th 7pm)  

Another pairing where the last time they met was a final, this time back in 2016 when Higgins won the China Championship. Much has been made of Higgins poor recent form but he looked pretty sharp in the first round with three centuries and five further breaks over 60. Bingham, 8-1 up and cruising against Dotty decided just chill out and watch a bit of snooker from his seat before somehow regaining his composure to win in a decider, so it’s fair to say that he’s used up a little more mental energy than he might have been expecting to after the first session. The head to heads are convincing in Higgins favour and you’d be a fool to oppose him on his first round form, he’ll be looking to kick on from that and we all know how dangerous he can be when he gets his tongue between his teeth.

Prediction: Higgins 13-8    

Shaun Murphy v Neil Robertson (Thursday 25th 1pm, Friday 26th 10am/7pm)

Just one frame dropped between the two men who breezed through the first round against opponents who looked like they had just landed on Earth and were just getting the hang of stuff. But you still have to go out and perform and they both did and both looked razor sharp in the balls, which came as no surprise with Robertson but Shaun looked as confused as everyone else in the audience did with the way he was knocking them in after a season best described as forgettable. The last time they met over a long distance was Murphy’s Masters win in 2015, when he gave Neil a right old pasting in the final, oddly, the last time they met at all was just over 4 years ago which given they have been permanent fixtures in the top 16 is one of those odd snooker anomalies. Shaun proclaimed after the match that if they both play the same again this could be a classic, I hope he’s right, but I detected some flaws in Murphy’s game that are still there, he wasn’t punished at all when he got a bit careless and that won’t happen here. I can only see one outcome in this and it has to be Robertson, comfortably.

Prediction: Robertson 13-6      

TABLE 2

Mark Selby v Gary Wilson (Thursday 25th 7pm, Friday 26th 2.30pm, Saturday 27th 10am)

Gary Wilson became the first qualifier to proceed into Round 2 with a tense win over Luca Brecel that included an incredible final frame which went on for about a week. His only ranking final to date came back in 2015 when he was heavily defeated by his opponent here, who seemed in very jovial spirits after a customary first round comeback from 5-1 down to Zhao Xintong. His scoring was very similar to Higgins in that match with three tons and a whole host of frame winning contributions so it may not be wishful thinking now to believe that after a very nervy start, he might just be coming back to his best. I did think after the match he seemed incredibly relaxed and perhaps the mantle of being Number 1 is something he’s happy to get rid of, but he’d better not be too sick of it because there is every chance with the early exit of O’Sullivan that at the end of this he’ll be back there again. As for this match, I can’t see Gary getting too close, if it goes tactical which I’m sure it will at some point, Selby should have enough in the tank to pull clear eventually and not eek every last drop out of the match.

Prediction: Selby 13-8

Ali Carter v Zhou Yuelong (Sunday 28th 10am/7pm, Monday 29th 1pm) 

A pretty meaningless head to head between the pair means that we should only really go on their form to get here, this of course being the only match where both players have already won 40 frames in the championship. Ali was clinical in his first round against Lisowski, who it has to be said at times played some real kamikaze snooker. Yuelong held himself together well in the face of a comeback from Mark Allen when he had already benefited from an inexplicably bad session from Mark. I’m pretty convinced that Ali will see this as a match that he should not lose and I’d expect him to look to really impose himself from the start and if he does, I can see him winning this very comfortably.

Prediction: Carter 13-6    

Judd Trump v Ding Junhui (Saturday 27th 7pm, Sunday 28th 2.30pm, Monday 29th 7pm)

Plenty, including me, will be scouring the ties in this round and wonder where the annual classic second rounder is coming from, well I’d look no further than this one. Drama seems to follow Judd around here and he needed all 19 frames to take care of Theppy and set up a fourth World Championship meeting with Ding, with Judd leading 2-1. In competitive snooker over the years they have played a total of 142 frames and Ding leads 72-70, which just tells you all you need to know about how evenly matched these two are, arguably here we are seeing the best players ever to play the sport without being a World Champion, an accolade that at least one of them will maintain for at least another year. Of the two, Ding was by far the heavier scorer in Round 1 and also looked the most comfortable with the surroundings, which he doesn’t always here. I’ve always thought both of these two are vulnerable in the two table set up and don’t really relax until they reach the bigger stage from the semi-finals, only losing there to stellar performances rather then under-performing. On first round form I’d have to plump for Ding, who like Selby, looks like a man with a weight lifted from him, but I’d not put him in any straight accumulators as this one could get very twitchy.

Prediction: Ding 13-11     

Stephen Maguire v James Cahill (Friday 26th 10am/7pm, Saturday 27th 2.30pm)

Two players who may suffer from a bit of shell shock even being here, Maguire because he should really have been beaten in the first round and possibly owes his win to a fluke, Cahill well, I don’t really have to elaborate why he might think he is dreaming do I? It’s a very odd one this for me as history tells us that when the unlikely giant slayer re-enters the arena to start again, he tends to under-perform and go out with a whimper and leave everyone saying what a shame it was he’d beaten so and so, but I have a feeling Cahill may prove an exception to this, particularly if Maguire gets a bit careless as he can do quite often. The one thing that I think will divide them however is Maguire’s heavier scoring. Cahill was knocking tons in for fun in the qualifiers but he didn’t get near one against Ronnie, despite some very good frame winning breaks. I’ll side with history here and plump for Maguire but I wouldn’t be surprised if Cahill gave a decent account of himself again.

Prediction: Maguire 13-9

RECOMMENDED BETS: Total Frames Treble – Williams/Gilbert Over 21, Robertson/Murphy Under 21, Ding/Trump Over 22 – pays 13/2. Add John Higgins (-2.5 frames) and acca pays over 16/1. Match Handicap Acca: Higgins (-1.5), Robertson (-2.5), Williams (-2.5), Ding (+3.5), Selby (-3.5) pays just under 12/1.  

Judd Trump Press Conference

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 2:00 pm

A clearly relieved Judd Trump speaks to the press after his dramatic final frame win over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh this morning.

 

Stuart Bingham and Graeme Dott Press Conferences

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:54 am

A very strange match to say the least, a huge comeback from Dotty was finally stopped in its tracks in a decider, a very disappointed Dott and a relieved Ballrun spoke to the press afterwards.

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