We are down to the one table format for the semi-finals of the Welsh Open, both of which will be played across two sessions of action inside the Motorpoint Arena on Saturday. The weather has effected the crowd and things but the standard of snooker has not let anyone down.
We saw the battle between Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins on Friday which the latter came out on top in and he is the headline attraction over the course of what should be an interesting day given the line up.
Barry Hawkins vs Noppon Saengkham
The opening semi-final sees Barry Hawkins taking on Noppon Saengkham in a match between a man who is coming back into the form we are used to seeing from him against one who is at this stage of a major ranking tournament for the very first time.
Hawkins was very good in the quarter final and actually set the standard of all eight men in the round with a couple of centuries and a really strong showing. Saengkham showed flashes of something decent in the quarter final but he was nervous for a lot of it and you’ve got to think those nerves will magnify in this situation.
I expect Hawkins to be too strong in this match. These two have met twice in the past and Hawkins has won 5-0 and 5-1. Given how well he has played this week Saengkham might offer something more than that but I don’t see him winning more than three frames.
John Higgins vs Gary Wilson
The second semi-final looks to be the more competitive one on paper as John Higgins continues his quest for a fifth Welsh Open title when he takes on Gary Wilson who is not new to this stage of a tournament unlike in the other semi.
Higgins has scored very well in this tournament which is often half of the battle with him and these days I actually think he is better in a high scoring match. You have to say Wilson hasn’t been far behind him in that department and we saw when he beat Mark Allen earlier in the event that he’s no respecter of reputation.
These two met in the Northern Ireland Trophy earlier in the season when Wilson won 4-3 but Higgins hit three centuries in that match so we certainly saw then that Wilson does not get daunted by playing the Scot at his best. That leads me to think this might be a closer match than the odds might suggest. Given that there could be a few frames and these two nailed five tons between them on Friday night I’ll chance over 1.5 centuries here.
Back B.Hawkins (-2.5 frames) to beat N.Saengkham for a 4/10 stake at 2.15 with Coral
Back J.Higgins vs G.Wilson – Over 1.5 centuries for a 3/10 stake at 2.75 with Betfair
Back it here: