The second round of the UK Championship draws to a close inside the Barbican Centre in York on Sunday with the final 16 matches being played. At the end of the day we will be left with 32 men to battle it out for the second biggest ranking event in the game.
Having lost the second seed in the first round, we lost the top dog on Saturday when Mark Selby was knocked out so this draw is beginning to open up a little. The big names on show on Sunday will be hoping to take advantage of that on what looks another good day of action.
All the focus and attention will be on the new English Open and Shanghai Masters champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in this session. He plays Michael Georgiou on one of the main tables while Shaun Murphy faces a tricky looking test on the other TV table when he takes on Liam Highfield.
There is some good talent on the outside tables too with Kyren Wilson taking on Yu Delu and the man of the moment Yan Bingtao up against Ben Woollaston. The China Championship winner Luca Brecel plays Aditya Mehta while Alan McManus meets Jimmy Robertson. Ricky Walden plays Jamie Jones and Mark King goes up against Mike Dunn.
It is all about the former champion John Higgins in the evening session. He will bid to make it through to the next round when he takes on Cao Yupeng while Barry Hawkins will take on Hammad Miah on the second of the TV tables in the session.
Michael White and Matthew Selt meet on an outside table while Michael Holt meets Akani Songsermsawad on another. Martin Gould will aim to continue his push to make The Masters when he plays Robbie Williams. Anthony McGill faces a tough test against Hossein Vafaei while Noppon Saengkham will take on Ding Junhui’s conqueror Leo Fernandez. Xiao Guodong plays Tom Ford in an even looking final match.
After three winners from four bets on Saturday I’m going to scale things down a little on Sunday as it is a card which doesn’t offer too much in my opinion. There is one I like in each session though which will keep things ticking over.
Jimmy Robertson is starting to build up a bit of a head of steam and I like him to see off Alan McManus. I was surprised to hear McManus in the commentary box on Saturday and wonder if that will have any impact here. Robertson is playing nicely at the minute and with snooker becoming more and more about scoring he looks a worthy favourite to me. McManus still knows how to keep things tight but if Robertson has his scoring boots on as he has recently he should win this.
In the evening session I expect Noppon Saengkham to take advantage of his draw opening up. The win over Ding Junhui was the first of the season for Leo Fernandez and he hadn’t been particularly competitive in most matches prior to that. To be fair for six frames he wasn’t all that competitive against Ding either. Saengkham had a good win over Anda Zhang in the opening round and he put some nice runs together. I expect him to come through with plenty to spare in this one.
WON – Back J.Robertson to beat A.McManus for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with Bet365
WON – Back N.Saengkham (-2 Asian handicap) to beat L.Fernandez for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365
Back them here: