We are down to the quarter finals of the European Masters with all four matches taking place on Friday inside the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes as the remaining eight players look to make it through to the semi-finals.
We’ve lost a lot of big names throughout the tournament to the extent that just two of the top 16 have made it into the quarter finals. That opens up the potential of a surprise winner but will also create some drama and tension which we love to see as neutrals.
Graeme Dott vs Ryan Day
Two men who have ranking titles in their trophy cabinet meet in one of the afternoon quarter finals when the former world champion Graeme Dott takes on a man who has won the Shootout among other things in his career in Ryan Day.
This is a great chance for one of these two men to go all the way in this competition. Both will have seen every member of the top 16 exit the tournament in their half of the draw so someone could go to the final and add 35,000 ranking points to their total. That would be the ideal boost ahead of Sheffield. I don’t think Dott has been as fluent as he might have been this week but he has largely cruised into this quarter final. Aside from a real battle against Ashley Carty in the second round Day has been quite comfortable as well. I fancy a close match here but wouldn’t be surprised who wins. It might go to a decider but the odds reflect that so I’ll leave this one alone.
Fan Zhengyi vs Dave Gilbert
The other quarter final in the afternoon sees the Championship League winner Dave Gilbert looking to progress towards another title when he meets Fan Zhengyi, the Chinese player who is playing in his second major quarter final of 2022.
Fan will hope this one goes much better than his last eight clash at the German Masters where he went down 5-0 to Mark Allen but already in this calendar year he has wins over Li Hang, Kyren Wilson and Yan Bingtao so he is entitled to give it to Gilbert, who for all he is improved as a player still doesn’t look the most comfortable as a favourite. To be fair to Gilbert he dealt with a decent threat in Pang Junxu in the previous round and he’ll know the draw has opened right up. I don’t think Fan is without a chance here but the scars of that Berlin quarter final puts me off backing him.
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Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Tom Ford
The pick of the quarter finals will be the one on the main table in the evening session where Ronnie O’Sullivan looks to move on in his quest for a second title on the season when he meets Tom Ford who will be hoping this is the week where he sheds his maiden status.
Ford has already demolished one legend this week when he took care of John Higgins 5-0 in the second round. He wasn’t as convincing in the third round against Fraser Patrick but he still made it through. Ford will know he needs to be at his best here if he is to have any chance but there were signs of encouragement that you could get to O’Sullivan earlier in the week when Zhang Anda took him to a deciding frame. Even Ashley Hugill in the last round could have been closer to him but for some elementary mistakes. The danger for Ford is that O’Sullivan goes through the gears now. Ford shouldn’t be ruled out but the Rocket is hard to oppose here.
Liang Wenbo vs Anthony McGill
The last quarter final of the European Masters sees the Chinese ace Liang Wenbo taking on the tough to beat Scottish player Anthony McGill with one of these former title event winners making it through to the semi-final.
Liang has really come back to form in recent times. It is almost like the exploits of Zhao Xintong has inspired him to work hard and come back to life and he certainly has. I mentioned when I backed him for this tournament at the beginning of the week that in 2022 he has been scoring like a maniac and that has certainly continued this week. He made six breaks over 50 in the third round win over Yuan Sijun. McGill has been bubbling just under the surface for a while now and looks to be rounding into some nice form ahead of another deep stint at Sheffield so this should be a cracking contest. McGill has also been scoring well this week and saw off a Kurt Maflin who made three centuries against him on Thursday evening. He’s another who I favour as an outsider though and I fancy Wenbo to get his man here.
Back L.Wenbo to beat A.McGill for a 3/10 stake at 2.10 with BetVictor
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