The second round of qualifying in the World Championship begins in Sheffield on Sunday with those competing looking to get within one victory of a spot in the main event at the Crucible Theatre which is now less than a week from beginning.
Plenty of big names survived the opening round of qualifying and many of them either get their second round underway on Sunday or actually play both sessions of their tie. The likes of Jimmy White, Ken Doherty, Liang Wenbo and Graeme Dott are among those on show in the many matches on Sunday.
It was an excellent day for us on Saturday with Jack Lisowski powering past Christopher Keogan 10-4 to bring his handicap safely in for us while Noppon Saengkham also did the business when he came back to conclude his match to take us nicely into profit for the week so far.
There were no real shocks on Saturday with the majority of the favourites cruising through. Michael White was taken to a deciding frame but apart from that those who were heavily expected to win did so with the minimum of fuss.
Jimmy White will get to showcase his talents on one of the main tables in the morning session on Sunday when he goes up against Joe Perry in one of the matches of the round. It is Dave Gilbert who has the honour of leading off on the other streamed table. He takes on another Londoner in Alfie Burden who needs to win.
On the outside tables we have Graeme Dott taking on Akani Songsermsawad, Dominic Dale faces Mike Dunn, Matthew Stevens meets Yuan Sijun, Ken Doherty plays Gerard Greene, Andrew Higginson plays Robin Hull, Lee Walker takes on Ricky Walden, Michael Georgiou goes up against Mark Davis, with the final two matches seeing Yan Bingtao playing Tian Pengfei and Kurt Maflin going against Chris Wakelin.
Liang Wenbo is the main attraction in the afternoon session and as you would expect he is on the main table. He goes up against his fellow Chinese player Zhao Xintong. The other live table will be occupied by Martin Gould. He plays another Chinese opponent in Anda Zhang in what looks a tasty tussle.
Matthew Selt plays Adam Duffy on one of the outside tables with Mei Xi Wen playing Xiao Guodong on another. Stuart Carrington faces Ben Woollaston in what could go the distance while Michael Holt meets Elliot Slessor. Robert Milkins takes on Scott Donaldson while there could be a war of attrition between Rory McLeod and Li Hang. Lu Haotian faces Martin O’Donnell with the other remaining match seeing Adam Stefanow going up against Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
I’m going with three bets over the course of the day with the first of them coming in the morning where I like Gerard Greene to see off Ken Doherty. If he needs to outlast Doherty then I think he can do that but if the balls are open and this turns into a battle of scoring I definitely think that Greene has the edge there so the Northern Irishman is the pick for me in that match.
Moving into the afternoon I think Liang Wenbo has to be backed. I know it is a different day and a different opponent and all that but Wenbo was so good in the first round where he was a pot away from two maximum breaks that he just has to be taken here. Zhao Xintong will have his moments in this match but I don’t think he has the consistency to stay with Liang over this distance. I think Wenbo can come through no worse than 10-8.
Michael Holt took a while to get going in the first round but when he did he played some really nice stuff and I think he can build on that when he faces Elliot Slessor in the second round. Slessor struggled in the first round. Whether that was expectation of favouritism or not I’m not sure but he will definitely need to improve if he is to make it through. Ultimately there is the gap that there is between these two in the rankings for a reason and I expect Holt to show why.
Back G.Greene to beat K.Doherty for a 4/10 stake at 2.20 with William Hill
WON – Back L.Wenbo (-1.5 frames) to beat Z.Xintong for a 4/10 stake at 1.73 with Betfred
Back him here:
WON – Back M.Holt to beat E.Slessor for a 4/10 stake at 1.73 with Ladbrokes