We have reached the point in the Welsh Open that there are two rounds of matches on the same day as the tournament really gets whittled down on a busy day of action on the green baize inside the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.
Wednesday was the day of shock after shock with Ding Junhui, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson and Mark Selby all biting the dust on a sensational day of snooker. Thursday will begin with the last 32 in the morning and afternoon before the last 16 in the evening. Time restraints will stop us previewing the last 16 but we will cover the last 32 as ever.
The defending champion Stuart Bingham will occupy the main TV table in the morning session when he takes on the home hope Matthew Stevens for a place in the last 16. Kyren Wilson will be on the streamed table when he takes on James Wattana.
The outside tables will be full in the morning session. Yan Bingtao goes up against Peter Ebdon while Fang Xiongman plays Barry Hawkins. Liam Highfield meets Chris Wakelin with Craig Steadman taking on Noppon Saengkham who dumped Judd Trump out of the tournament on Wednesday. The other two matches sees Mike Dunn facing Xu Si and Gerard Greene meets John Astley.
Ronnie O’Sullivan will be first up on the TV table on Thursday afternoon. He plays David Grace for a place in the last 16 while on the streamed table John Higgins will go up against Sam Craigie. The outside tables will see Ian Burns playing Akani Songsermsawad, Jack Lisowski going up against Nigel Bond, Mark Allen will face Gary Wilson and Yu Delu meets Ben Woollaston.
The other two matches in the round sees Mark Williams going up against Martin Gould in a clash which will be on the TV table while Liang Wenbo will face Robbie Williams on the first available table.
I’m going with three bets in the last 32 and they all come in the morning session. I’ve been impressed with Matthew Stevens this week and while Stuart Bingham will be a tough nut to crack there is no way that Stevens is a 5/2 shot on the way he has played. He was on the TV table against Ken Doherty and looked to be cueing it lovely and a repeat of that will certainly make him dangerous. Bingham is doing enough to keep his head in front at the minute but opponents are getting chances. I’ll take a chance on Stevens taking enough of them to win.
I took Chris Wakelin to win on Wednesday and he duly obliged and I’m going to take him to see off Ding Junhui’s conqueror Liam Highfield on Thursday too. I mentioned on Wednesday how Wakelin has a good record in these events and there is no reason why that will not continue here. Highfield wasn’t great against Ding but he didn’t have to be. He might need to be better here but at odds against it is Wakelin once again for me.
We saw Gerard Greene have an excellent record and indeed a decent performance against Shaun Murphy in the opening round of the tournament and he followed that up with a solid win on Wednesday too. He now takes on John Astley who had a right old battle with Dominic Dale on Wednesday evening and while he came through that there is no doubt he’ll need to up his game here. Greene looked to be playing pressure free against Murphy. He’s had some good results this season and can pick up another win here.
WON – Back M.Stevens to beat S.Bingham for a 3/10 stake at 3.50 with Coral
Back C.Wakelin to beat L.Highfield for a 4/10 stake at 2.10 with Betfair
Back him here:
Back G.Greene to beat J.Astley for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with Boylesports
Back him here: