The third day of action at the Players Championship sees the first round coming to an end and the opening quarter final being played out inside the Aldersley Arena in Wolverhampton as the second leg of the Cazoo Series picks up speed.
The tournament went up a level when the marquee clash between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump took place on Tuesday evening and we should be in for more great snooker over the course of Wednesday.
John Higgins vs Hossein Vafaei
The action on the main table will see two of the four tournament winners in 2022 so far battling it out when last week’s Championship League winner John Higgins takes on the Shootout champion Hossein Vafaei for a quarter final berth.
Higgins is the defending champion here and he’ll get his title defence up and running here against a dangerous opponent in Vafaei. We knew all about Vafaei and his quality before he won the Shootout but that confidence of getting over the line and lifting a trophy will make him a very dangerous animal from here on in. He has already seen off Mark Selby and Ronnie O’Sullivan this season and will now look to topple another great of the game. Higgins is playing really well these days too though so this is one to savour and enjoy rather than have a bet on.
Luca Brecel vs Jimmy Robertson
Over on Table Two we have a repeat of a first round clash from the World Grand Prix as the Scottish Open winner Luca Brecel takes on Jimmy Robertson who is enjoying a decent season after nearly falling off the tour, a campaign he’ll look to improve on here.
Robertson won that match at the World Grand Prix but Brecel looked visibly shattered having made the UK Championship final and winning the Scottish Open the two weeks prior to that so I think we can let the Belgian off there. He doesn’t have the volume of snooker to go into this match that he had on that occasion so I think he is a worthy favourite but that is reflected in the prices. If we could get a decent price on Brecel -1.5 frames I would have taken it but that is plenty short enough against a Robertson who is more than capable of beating Brecel even allowing for the fact the Belgian is in good touch right now.
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Ricky Walden vs Mark Williams
The quarter finals begin in the evening session with the action coming all on the main table as Ricky Walden bids to make a second semi-final in as many tournaments after his run to the last four of the German Masters. He meets Mark Williams who made The Masters semi-final last month.
Williams is my outright bet so it stands to reason that I hope he wins this match but I think this will be a close one. Williams didn’t play well on the opening night but the main table looks to be playing a bit better now and while it is still slow he’ll know what to expect now. Walden is playing really well too so both look like they are going to give this one a real good go. The last two meetings between these two men have gone the distance, which includes their meeting at the British Open earlier in the season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this one follows that path. I certainly think we’ll get 6-4 or 6-5 either way so I’m happy to be on over 9.5 frames here.
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