The third round of the UK Championship gets going on Monday with plenty of big names on show inside the Barbican Centre in York. We’ve done away with the Sports Hall now and from here on in every match is in the main arena which adds to the profile of the event and should see an upturn in quality.
We have some real big players on show across the eight matches taking place on Monday with spots in the last 16 up for grabs in the competition.
Judd Trump is the headline act on the main tables in this first session of the day. He takes on the former world champion Graeme Dott in what is likely to be a real clash of styles while the other TV table match is an all-Welsh clash. That will see the recent Northern Ireland Open winner Mark Williams taking on the Riga Masters champion Ryan Day.
The matches on the outside tables don’t look too bad in this session either. The 2016 Scottish Open winner Marco Fu takes on the Chinese youngster Lu Haotian who is looking to continue his good form after making the Northern Ireland semis last week. Liang Wenbo takes on Stephen Maguire in what looks a belter on the other table.
All eyes will be on Neil Robertson in the evening session to see if he can continue his bid to qualify for The Masters. If Ryan Day loses earlier in the day the Australian will take a massive step towards making Ally Pally if he beats Mark Joyce. Mark Allen gets a long awaited chance on the other TV table when he plays Peter Lines.
The conqueror of Mark Selby, Scott Donaldson is on one of the outside tables in this evening session. He takes on the Chinese player Li Hang who is steadily climbing the rankings and would further do so with a win. Masters finalist Joe Perry is on the other table. He takes on the man who ended Jimmy White’s challenge in the previous round in Kurt Maflin.
I like three bets over the course of the day here. The first of those comes in the afternoon where it is hard to ignore the form of Stephen Maguire so far this week. The Scot will has a chance of reaching The Masters himself but he will need to make the semi-finals and beyond to maintain that hope. He has only dropped one frame so far this week though and is scoring well which is important. Wenbo has come through the draw nicely himself but you know you are going to get chances against him. This could come down to who can create more chances and I think the tactical game of Maguire will do that so he’s my bet here.
In the evening session I’m a little surprised that Scott Donaldson is as big as he is. He has to get back up again after the emotional high of beating Mark Selby in the previous round but he’s had a couple of days to get over that and to be fair he didn’t seem over excited in his interviews after that win. One thing I did note though was that his early season problems were down to cue changes but six 50s and two tons in two matches shows that he is over that. He now takes on Li Hang who is a solid campaigner, a Selby if you like albeit nowhere near as good. He’ll try and grind things out but if Donaldson can score as he has in the tournament to date he can win this one.
I noted the upturn in form of Joe Perry ahead of the Northern Ireland event last week and he has continued that theme so far this week. He took care of the very impressive Jack Lisowski in the previous round and I think he can see off Kurt Maflin on Monday night too. To be fair to Maflin he is going along quite nicely himself at the minute but he is half a level or so below Perry and further behind in the tactical department. I expect Perry to dominate the safety exchanges and create enough chances to come through and win with a bit in hand here.
WON – Back S.Maguire to beat L.Wenbo for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Paddy Power
Back him here:
Back S.Donaldson to beat L.Hang for a 4/10 stake at 2.20 with 888sport
WON – Back J.Perry (-1.5 frames) to beat K.Maflin for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with Ladbrokes