We are approaching the business end in the World Open with the last 16 taking place across two sessions of action on Thursday. Those left in the tournament out in China will be eyeing up big money and a tilt at the title over the weekend.
It had been serene progress for the big names earlier in the week but that all changed on Wednesday when a number of them such as Ding Junhui, Neil Robertson, Ryan Day, Judd Trump and Mark Allen were sent packing. That leaves us with an interesting last 16 draw.
The world champion Mark Williams is the headline act in the morning session. He continues his quest to win a second successive tournament with world in its name when he takes on a Joe Perry who has quietly come through the draw this week. That is on one of the main tables with the other TV table showing the juicy looking clash between Kyren Wilson and Jack Lisowski.
That means the world number one Mark Selby is reduced to playing on an outside table. He goes up against Noppon Saengkham which could easily become something of a battle while the other match away from the cameras in the morning session sees our pre-tournament pick Xiao Guodong going up against Anthony Hamilton.
With Ding Junhui’s demise there is the chance for some other players to enjoy the TV spotlight in the later session and one of those is Marco Fu. He takes on the man who beat Ding on Wednesday in Robert Milkins on one of the TV tables while on the other main table Ricky Walden goes up against Dave Gilbert for a place in the quarter final.
With those matches on the main table it means that Barry Hawkins will feature on the outside tables in this session. He takes on Matt Selt in a match which presents a good opportunity for both men particularly as the winner will face the successor in the clash between Fergal O’Brien and Gary Wilson which is the other match on the outside tables.
After a decent couple of days in the tournament I’m going to sit back and let my outright bets take the strain in the main on Thursday. A lot of the matches have favourites which are priced about right and I expect the majority of them to win but there is one who could win a little easier than the bookmakers suggest.
That man is Marco Fu. He has had to come through a couple of deciding frames this week but certainly Peter Ebdon can bog anyone down while Andrew Higginson deserves credit for the performance he put up but in both matches Fu scored well in the main and I always maintain that is how you can tell his form. We all saw Milkins literally fall over the line against Ding on Wednesday. After a fluent 53 in the opening frame Milkins offered nothing of note in the remaining eight frames from a break building point of view and if Ding didn’t have other things on his mind he’d have brushed the Milkman aside. I fully expect Fu to do what Ding didn’t and win this with a little in hand.
WON – Back M.Fu (-1.5 frames) to beat R.Milkins for a 4/10 stake at 1.85 with Unibet
Back him here: