The first round of the World Championship continues on Tuesday when three more matches get going and two more conclude inside the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. It is a day where we see no fewer than three world champions in action as well as a former finalist.
We lost another former winner of this tournament on Monday when Shaun Murphy was taken out in a deciding frame epic by Jamie Jones in the second big surprise of the competition. There were no such issues for Mark Allen and Barry Hawkins who came through comfortably enough. Allen beat Liam Highfield 10-5 while Hawkins beat Carrington 10-7.
Two matches are at the halfway mark and will conclude on Tuesday. They see Ding Junhui leading his countryman 6-3 while Luca Brecel won the final match of Monday evening to trail Ricky Walden by the same scoreline.
In Play Betting
In truth there isn’t a whole lot which stands out in the two matches that are in play overnight. I still fancy Guodong might keep close counsel with Ding but really he should already be that and given that Ding is a decent frontrunner it is probably a risk that doesn’t need to be taken while in the other match I’ve always thought Walden would beat Brecel and nothing has changed my mind.
Stuart Bingham vs Jack Lisowski (Tuesday 10am & 7pm)
One of the pick of the opening round matches is the opening match on Tuesday which sees Stuart Bingham taking on Jack Lisowski. Bingham is a former winner of this tournament but I don’t think it would surprise anyone if Lisowski had a deep run in this event.
I certainly think Lisowski is the value here. He has had a great season with a semi-final in Shanghai and a couple of quarter finals including in China earlier in the month. He also powered through qualifying where he banged in 17 50+ breaks plus five centuries in his three matches.
Bingham missed a large chunk of the season but he has been in decent touch since he returned culminating in the 147 maximum break he made in China earlier in the month but he hasn’t played for three weeks and if he has any rust at all then the much more recently active Lisowski can take advantage.
Mark Williams vs Jimmy Robertson (Tuesday 2.30pm & Wednesday 10am)
The second world champion on show on Tuesday sees Mark Williams begin his quest to cap off a fine season with the world title when he takes on Jimmy Robertson over the best of 19 frames for the right to face either Neil Robertson or Robert Milkins in the second round.
Williams has a wonderful record against Robertson. Of the 29 frames they have played Robertson has won just five of them so the Welshman should be feeling pretty good about himself. We’ve seen some strange results this week but I don’t think Robertson is consistent enough over this distance to keep close to Williams. If Williams gets in front I expect him to pull clear and cover a 3.5 frame handicap.
Neil Robertson vs Robert Milkins (Tuesday 7pm & Wednesday 2.30pm)
The final world champion on show on Tuesday is the Australian star Neil Robertson who not for the first time faces Robert Milkins in the first round of this tournament. The pair met at this stage back in 2013 when Milkins won 10-8.
These two have met once this season already when Milkins triumphed in a final frame in Northern Ireland so I’m a little bit surprised that Robertson is as short as he is in this match. Robertson hasn’t really had the best of seasons either. He won in Scotland and was a semi-finalist in China earlier in the month but overall this has been a disappointing campaign.
I still think Robertson will come through this one but I’m much less convinced he will win 10-5 or easier. Milkins ploughed his way through qualifying in fine style and whatever else happens in this match I expect him to make six frames.
WON – Back J.Lisowski to beat S.Bingham for a 4/10 stake at 2.55 with Ladbrokes
WON – Back M.Williams (-3.5 frames) to beat J.Robertson for a 4/10 stake at 1.80 with Betfred
WON – Back R.Milkins (+4.5 frames) to beat N.Robertson for a 4/10 stake at 1.95 with BetVictor