We are down to the final day of the Riga Masters on Sunday where the quarter finals, semi-finals and the final all played on what should be one outstanding day of snooker out in the Latvian capital as the first ranking title of the season is decided.
It has been a week of shocks and surprises and as a result there is only one member of the top 25 in the world in the last eight and we have an outright ticket with his name on it. The quarter finals make up the morning session in Riga on Sunday with the semi-finals in the afternoon and the final in the evening. Time restrictions will stop us from previewing the last four onwards but we can cover the last eight.
Yan Bingtao vs Li Hang
One of the quarter finals on Sunday morning is an all-Chinese affair as our pre-tournament selection Yan Bingtao takes on Li Hang in a battle of two men who will spend the day looking for their first ranking event title.
Bingtao has won easily this week and he has battled hard as well and I always think that is a good thing heading into the latter stages of an event. Hang has battled hard all the way through and should be ready to make this a very tight battle. We are getting to the stage where Hang tends to falter. Bingtao has made a ranking final and that experience could be crucial. I’m hoping that is the case anyway given I’m on him outright. He’s my interest in this one.
Matt Selt vs Mark King
The only two remaining men in the tournament to have won a ranking event meet in a quarter final when the current holder of the Indian Open, Matt Selt, takes on the former champion in Northern Ireland in the shape of Mark King.
Both men know how to go the distance in a tournament so you would have to think that whoever comes out on top here will be the favourite to go on and win the competition just based on that past experience. I think Selt can be that man. I say that because his success came more recently and I get the feeling he has the bit between his teeth as a result. King hasn’t really threatened much since he won in Belfast. I think the confidence Selt still has from his win in India can see him through here.
Stuart Carrington vs Mark Joyce
It might be that the best of the quarter finals is the one featuring the two giant killers from the previous round in Stuart Carrington, who saw off Mark Selby, and Mark Joyce, who ended the run of Jack Lisowski in the last 16.
Carrington is looking for a second successive semi-final appearance here and based on his win over Selby you would have to think he is more than capable of achieving it too. Joyce has seen off some decent players this week though and he has been playing well enough to merit respect from us punters. I fancy Carrington might win this but I’ll leave the game alone from a betting standpoint.
Kurt Maflin vs Luo Honghao
The last of the quarter finals sees the Norwegian number one Kurt Maflin looking to build on what has been a great weekend for him so far when he takes on Luo Honghao, who burst onto the scene last season and is starting this one well too.
Honghao has the talent to win this match but at some stage you would think that the occasion is going to get to him at this stage of his career. I fancy experience is going to be a key thing on Sunday and Maflin has enough of that to be more than competitive here. He has probably played the better snooker of the two so far but in saying that Honghao has the talent to beat anyone. That puts me off betting on the game.
WON – Back M.Selt to beat M.King for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with Betway