The World Championship quarter finals get underway inside the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield on Tuesday with the eight remaining players all eyeing up the 13 frames that they need to prosper to the one-table set-up.
All four matches get up and running on Tuesday with a couple of them playing two sessions of the schedule three and the other two playing just the one session. We have five former winners left in so it would make sense to expect the quality to remain high after we saw a 147 break on Monday.
Day 10 Recap
It was a fantastic day of snooker on Monday as the four remaining second round matches drew to a close. The one which was meant to be the closest heading into the day was the one between Kyren Wilson and Stuart Bingham but the latter never got that script as he won 13-9. John Higgins went into Monday 11-5 up on Noppon Saengkham and came through 13-7 while Jack Lisowski edged out Neil Robertson in a deciding frame but not before the Australian had fired in a 147 break. Judd Trump fell over the line in the other match against Anthony McGill, coming through 13-11.
Yan Bingtao vs Mark Williams (Tuesday 10am, Tuesday 7pm & Wednesday 2.30pm)
One of the first quarter finals to get underway on Tuesday is the top quarter match as the former champion Mark Williams looks to make the semi-finals once again when he takes on Yan Bingtao who will be competing at this stage for the first time in his career.
Bingtao will be buoyed by having taken care of Mark Selby in the previous round and while Selby wasn’t at his best heading into the tournament and has his mental health issues it should not be forgotten that the defending champion played well in that match but Bingtao just has that extra bit about him right now. He can mix it tactically but as he showed in the final frame of that match he can score too. I think most people would say Williams has been the player of the tournament so far but his detractors might argue that he has only beaten an amateur and someone who was ranked outside the top 75 in the world when the qualifying for this tournament started. There is merit in that but it isn’t who you beat sometimes it is how you do it and Williams has been very impressive. I think he’ll edge Bingtao here but I’m on the Welshman outright so that is enough for me in this one.
Stuart Bingham vs Judd Trump (Tuesday 2.30pm, Wednesday 10am & Wednesday 7pm)
The quarter final in the second quarter of the draw is the only one which sees two former champions going at it against each other when Stuart Bingham takes on Judd Trump in a repeat of the 2015 semi-final.
That match went to a deciding frame and was one of the best matches which has been played in this fine venue so if this one is half as good as that then we are going to be in for a treat. There is every chance it will too because generally matches between these two men are tight. I think Bingham deserves respect for his win over Kyren Wilson in the previous round. To be fair Trump does too for his win over Anthony McGill, especially when the 2019 champion also had the toughest first round draw in Hossein Vafaei as well. I’m still not convinced Trump is at his best here though and had McGill not let Trump get away from him in the middle session he would have beaten him. Bingham has had the bit between his teeth in this tournament so far and importantly he is scoring incredibly well. That is often the sign of where his game is so the fact he is scoring well is very much a good thing. Contrast that to Trump who in 24 frames against McGill made just six breaks of more than 50 and only three more than 75. That highlights he isn’t on top form and I fancy Bingham to dump him out here although I quite like Bingham with the 3.5 frame start just in case Trump has an hour where he is bang on it.
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Jack Lisowski vs John Higgins (Tuesday 2.30pm, Wednesday 2.30pm & Wednesday 7pm)
The third quarter final sees the man who dumped out the maximum man in Jack Lisowski taking on a John Higgins who is three wins from an incredible fifth World Championship title and who will certainly have all the belief you need that this could be his year.
He won’t be the only one with that belief though because Lisowski must be full of belief in himself after the way he held himself together under pressure to beat Robertson, the man who has quite clearly been the player of the season to date. That went against the grain of his career so far which shows that the work he is doing with Peter Ebdon is already delivering good things. Higgins is only so far behind Robertson in the player of the season stakes because of his inability to get over the line in finals but the fact he has made six of them this term highlights how well he is playing. He has shown signs of struggling to get over the line in multi-session matches this season and even both matches here his opponent has won more frames than him in the final session or the same amount. That puts me off backing Higgins to win the match and cover handicaps but I do think he can start out positively. Lisowski was unlikely to have left the Crucible much before midnight on Monday if he even got out that early and you only had to look at him in his interviews to see he was emotionally shattered. I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes out a little flat and that we see the best of him in this match in the two sessions they play on Wednesday. With that in mind, I’ll take Higgins to win the first session.
Stephen Maguire vs Ronnie O’Sullivan (Tuesday 10am, Tuesday 7pm & Wednesday 10am)
The first of the quarter finals to finish is scheduled to be the bottom quarter final which sees Ronnie O’Sullivan continuing his quest for a seventh world title when he takes on a Stephen Maguire who has already dumped out two class acts in this tournament.
He has beaten Shaun Murphy and Zhao Xintong and while this is significantly the toughest test he will have faced this week, you get the impression that he’ll be up for the challenge and if he scores like he did against Xintong then he could have a good chance in this match. He’ll need to stay close to O’Sullivan early doors though as the 2020 champion showed Mark Allen what happens when you let the Rocket get away from you. In the main Maguire raises his game when he takes on Ronnie. I expect him to do that here but whether it is good enough remains to be seen. I’ll see where we are in this one at the close of play on Tuesday and bet accordingly from there.
Back S.Bingham (+3.5 frames) to beat J.Trump for a 4/10 stake at 1.80 with Coral
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Back J.Higgins to win 1st Session for a 3/10 stake at 2.00 with Betfair
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