The first round of the World Championship continues on Tuesday when another three matches get underway alongside the two games which will play to a finish after their first session was played out on Monday.
It is a day with another set of stars taking to the baize including three former winners of this title and a man who has twice lost in the final of it so we certainly have the cast list for another decent day of snooker in Sheffield.
Day 3 Recap
There were three winners on Monday and all three seeded players made it through to the second round. The first one to win was Anthony McGill who overcame Liam Highfield 10-7 before Mark Williams converted his 7-2 lead on Michael White into a 10-3 victory before the other Mark on show, Mark Allen, came through against Scott Donaldson 10-6. Two matches sit at the halfway mark after the opening session with Neil Robertson and Stuart Bingham holding 6-3 advantages over Ashley Hugill and Lyu Haotian respectively.
In Play Betting
Those two matches are the two which are outstanding in terms of an in play bet but I don’t really think there is a bet to be had because I expect the two seeded players to go on and win with a bit to spare. I wouldn’t be surprised if both of them pull away in the second session but there was enough from Ashley Hugill and Lyu Haotian to offer up the chance that they keep Neil Robertson and Stuart Bingham honest so I wouldn’t really want to be delving into any handicaps, particularly as they have inflated after the first session.
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Yan Bingtao vs Chris Wakelin (Tuesday 10am & Tuesday 7pm)
The first of the three matches to get underway on Tuesday sees the former Masters champion Yan Bingtao taking on Chris Wakelin, the qualifier who is yet to win a match here but who has taken Judd Trump to a deciding frame at this venue in the past.
Bingtao has been touted as a potential winner of this tournament with his all-round game very much suited to the format and the test that is in front of him. Whether he has the experience of the longer matches for that to be this year remains to be seen but he is certainly a contender. Wakelin had a good run in qualifying, one which secured his tour card for next season which was probably his main priority at the outset. It gives him a good chance to offer more next season but he’ll want to do some damage now that he is here. He has the game to go with Bingtao but I just wonder if he would be better off facing an out and out potter rather than someone with the tactical nous that the Chinese player has. Nothing stands out here.
John Higgins vs Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (Tuesday 2.30pm & Wednesday 10am)
The middle match of the three to get underway is a real clash to look forward to as John Higgins begins his search for a fifth world title when he takes on the entertaining Thai player Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, who on his day can be a handful for anyone.
Un-Nooh has probably already achieved what he set out to do in this tournament. His tour status was under serious threat and having been able to hold himself together under that pressure you wonder if there is anything which Higgins can throw at him which will concern the Thai. The one thing Un-Nooh has to do in this match if he is to have any chance in this match is score but Higgins has seen this all before and you would expect him to grind his man down if he needs to. He’ll also score very well when given the chance so for me this one is all about how close Un-Nooh can keep it. I’ll see how the first session goes and then maybe get involved ahead of the second session.
Jack Lisowski vs Matthew Stevens (Tuesday 7pm & Wednesday 2.30pm)
The final match of the three to get underway on Tuesday will do so in the evening session when Jack Lisowski begins a campaign for a first world title against a player who has gone the 17-day distance in this tournament twice in the past but is yet to get his hands on the trophy in Matthew Stevens.
Lisowski would have been one of the more vulnerable looking seeds heading into the first round draw so Stevens might well be liking his chances of coming through here, especially after seeing off the seasoned challenge of Ali Carter in the final qualifying round. Incredibly he is another player who was dicing with death with regards to his tour status throughout qualifying but he dealt with that and can enjoy another tilt at the Crucible. Lisowski has all the talent needed to win this tournament but whether he has the mentality for it is for him to show. I’m expecting a good match here though and with Lisowski a player who likes the balls open and Stevens someone who attacks the table I think we’ll see some centuries here. Stevens made three of them against Carter in the final qualifying round and Lisowski is a renowned heavy scorer so the even money on there being more than 2.5 of them in this match will do for me.
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