The final of the World Open takes place across two sessions in Yushan in China on Sunday when the world champion Mark Williams will look to pick up another ranking event title when he faces David Gilbert who is looking for his first.
Both men came through tight semi-finals to set up this contest which will be played out over the best of 19 frames with the first man to 10 being crowned the champion and picking up a cool £150,000.
I have to admit I didn’t think Dave Gilbert was going to have enough to see off Barry Hawkins in the semi-final but he came through nicely and given that Hawkins was the third member of the top 16 that he has seen off this week nobody can argue that Gilbert doesn’t deserve his place in this final with the chance to win his first title.
I’m still concerned whether Gilbert can get over the line if he has to win bouts of safety but if he can open the balls up and get in among them there hasn’t been anyone better this week so he would have every chance of success. The other thing which we are unsure of is how he will handle the occasion.
We certainly know that Williams will handle the occasion well. He is used to being in major finals and he is used to delivering his best snooker in them. He won three times last season and will not need a second invitation to win this tournament either. If experience does win the day then Williams is going to be tough to stop.
One question mark could be how much Williams has left. He has had to perform Houdini acts in the last two rounds coming from three frames behind in both contests and that sort of thing takes it out of players. He also played in the second semi-final so didn’t have the evening to recover for this final either which might take its toll at some point.
Head to Head
These two men have met on 10 previous occasions and Williams isn’t as far ahead as you might think. He only leads 6-4 although he has won their last four meetings which might well prove to be significant. This is the first time they have met in a final. They’ve never met later than the last 16 in the past. Williams has only won five more frames in those 10 matches though which suggests we could be in for a tight match.
I’ve a feeling David Gilbert could keep this final close if for no other reason than the fact that Williams has been put through the mill in the previous two matches but I don’t have enough of one to put my money behind any feeling like that. I will go with one bet though.
Amazingly in ten matches, Williams has never hit a century break against Gilbert whereas the Englishman has four tons in that time. He has hit a ton in three of his four matches this week too which means he is scoring very nicely. Williams’ highest break in his semi-final was just 64 and you have to go right the way back to the first round for the last time Williams made a century in this tournament. There is no doubt in my mind that Gilbert has looked better in the balls and so the strong odds on offer for him to make the highest break in this final looks good to me.
WON – Back D.Gilbert Highest Break for a 4/10 stake at 2.55 with Unibet
Back him here: