Two more second round matches get underway at the World Championship inside the Crucible Theatre on Saturday while three others will draw to a conclusion on what is shaping up to be an exciting day in Sheffield.
By the end of the day we will know the identity of half of the quarter final draw. There are no fewer than three world champions in action over the course of the day and two more who have been beaten in the final. It should be a great day.
It was an up and down day for us on Friday with Mark Allen powering away from Joe Perry in the final session of their second round match. That was offset by Lyu Haotian getting the sizeable break that we needed. There have been three centuries in the Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Ali Carter match too which puts us in a good position.
Allen came through 13-8 having begun the final session at 8-8. There are three matches that are at breaks overnight. Ali Carter leads Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-7 while Barry Hawkins is the same score in front of Lyu Haotian. Kyren Wilson heads Jamie Jones 5-3.
In Play Betting
I keep looking at the odds against on Ali Carter with a 9-7 lead and I keep loading up the bet slip but then I ask myself if I’m sure I want to pull the trigger. In the end I’ve decided to go with it. I think Carter has played the best snooker in the match so far. He has certainly started both sessions the better of the two and if he starts faster on Saturday afternoon then there may well be no way back for O’Sullivan.
There have been times in the match where O’Sullivan has really struggled and looked disinterested in it. If one of those periods come back on Saturday I think Carter will win. I don’t see Carter bottling this. Ronnie will have to win it. He’s perfectly capable of winning 6-3 from here of course but I sense this is Carter’s time based on the 16 frames thus far.
John Higgins vs Jack Lisowski (Saturday 2.30pm, Sunday 2.30pm & Monday 7pm)
The first match of the two to begin on Saturday is the one between the former champion John Higgins and the ever improving Jack Lisowski in one of the three matches in this round to take place over three days.
Higgins might be sick to death of seeing huge scoring left handers who can bang pots in from distance having seen off Thepchaiya Un-Nooh with one or two troubles. He now faces a man who wiped him out in China earlier in the month. Lisowski oozed class against Stuart Bingham in the first round and will fancy his chances here.
The odds suggest Higgins will win this with a bit to spare and while I think he’ll probably win I do like Lisowski with the 3.5 frames start. One of the reasons for that is the three days this is played over. Higgins is not getting any younger and playing his best for three successive days may not be as natural as it once was. The other reason why I like Lisowski with the start is the way he stayed in front of Bingham in the first round. There is a lot to like about Lisowski these days. Whether that equates to a win here I’m not sure but it can see him to 10 frames.
Mark Williams vs Robert Milkins (Saturday 7pm, Sunday 2.30pm & Monday 7pm)
The other match to get going on Saturday begins in the evening session when the former champion Mark Williams takes on the giant killer in the first round in Robert Milkins. The winner of this match could yet end up facing Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter final.
Williams is a massive favourite for this match but if Milkins can reproduce his qualifying form and the form which took him clear of Neil Robertson in the first session in the first round then this is entitled to be closer than perhaps it looks.
I thought Williams was very good in the first round. If I had to bet then I would take him to cover a handicap but it might be that the line is spot on here. I’ll sit out initially in the hope that Milkins can stay close and we can get a more acceptable line on the Welshman overnight.
WON – Back A.Carter to beat R.O’Sullivan for a 3/10 stake at 2.20 with Betfair
Back him here:
Back J.Lisowski (+3.5 frames) to beat J.Higgins for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with BetVictor