The second round of the Welsh Open takes place on one monster day of snooker in the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff on Wednesday as the tournament begins to click fully into gear ahead of the frantic conclusion later in the event.
The big names have all by and large made it through so far so we have some good looking match ups to look forward to on Wednesday, as well as some massive names gracing the TV table on a really juicy day of action.
Two good players are up on the TV table in the morning session when Jack Lisowski takes on Marco Fu in one of the ties of the round. Shaun Murphy gets the nod for the streamed table when he takes on one of the few remaining amateurs left in the tournament in the form of James Cahill, who shot to prominence in the UK Championship.
The outside tables are full in the morning with Craig Steadman facing Soheil Vahedi on one of them and Ken Doherty going up against Sam Craigie on another one. Jak Jones meets Peter Lines with Robbie Williams facing Anthony Hamilton. Martin O’Donnell will look to make it through when he takes on Ricky Walden with the other match seeing Jimmy Robertson going up against Nigel Bond.
Judd Trump will have the TV table treatment once again on Wednesday when he is on it first up in the afternoon. He meets the Welsh player Duane Jones who made the semi-final of the German Masters recently so he’s in good form. Ding Junhui takes on Oliver Lines on the streamed table with both men looking to make up for a terrible first half of the season.
Once again the outside tables will be full to capacity in this session. Zhang Jiankang takes on Alexander Ursenbacher on one of them while Xu Si goes up against Noppon Saengkham. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh looks to build on a win over Ryan Day when he meets Lukas Kleckers and Hossein Vafaei goes up against Ross Muir. The other two matches sees Scott Donaldson taking on Joe Swail and Ian Burns meeting Liang Wenbo.
Ronnie O’Sullivan will have centre stage in the second set of matches. He will obviously be on the TV table against the extremely talented Yuan Sijun while Mark Allen will look to come through on the streamed table when he goes up against the Chinese player Mei Xi Wen. Thor Chuan Leong and Paul Davison meet on an outside table while Hammad Miah faces Joe Perry on another of them. Mike Dunn and James Wattana collide with Billy Joe Castle goes up against Kurt Maflin. If there is time Kyren Wilson will meet Joe O’Connor on the TV table.
World champion Mark Williams will be first on the TV table in the evening session as he looks to make it into the last 32 when he takes on Zhang Anda. Mark Selby will be on the streamed table when he takes on Adam Duffy while on the outside tables we have Stuart Bingham going up against Matthew Selt, Michael Georgiou meets Jimmy White and Elliot Slessor takes on Tom Ford.
The second set of matches sees John Higgins continuing his title defence on the TV table when he plays Dominic Dale. On the streamed table Neil Robertson will meet Gary Wilson and the other match sees Barry Hawkins taking on Ben Woollaston.
I’ll go with four bets in some pretty high profile matches throughout Wednesday with the first of those coming on Marco Fu who looks to be coming back to his better form. He takes on Jack Lisowski who has fallen apart in recent times and should be out of the tournament having trailed 3-1 to Niu Zhuang in the first round and looking in real big trouble. I always maintain when Fu scores he is in good touch and he scored well in the first round. At odds against I think Fu is value to jump on the drop in form of Lisowski.
Ronnie O’Sullivan was a shambles in the first round on Tuesday and if he decides to throw the boat out against Yuan Sijun he could come a cropper because the young Chinese player looks the real deal. He made the quarter final in the World Grand Prix before he ran out of steam but he should be fresh enough for this match. I don’t necessarily think the Chinese player will win this match but if O’Sullivan goes reckless then Sijun definitely has the game to trouble him and win a couple of frames.
Mark Allen was in the Eurosport studio claiming that he hates the game right now and that got my attention right away. He takes on another Chinese player in Mei Xi Wen who actually dumped him out of this tournament 12 months ago and who could very easily do it again. Allen lost in the first round of The Masters and early on in the World Grand Prix and he could easily have gone out to Joyce in the first round here. Xi Wen had a good win over Michael Holt in the first round ending that match with a 131 break. He’s the value here.
Finally I think Dominic Dale can push John Higgins close enough for over 5.5 frames to land. John Higgins was another one writing off his credentials in the studio after the first round and Dominic Dale was sat next to him with his eyes lighting up on every word. Dale isn’t one of those Welshmen who wilts in this tournament and I still fancy Higgins to come good at some point. Over 5.5 frames feels right here.
Back M.Fu to beat J.Lisowski for a 4/10 stake at 2.20 with Betfred
Back him here:
WON – Back Y.Sijun (+2.5 frames) to beat R.O’Sullivan for a 4/10 stake at 1.90 with BetVictor
Back M.Xi Wen to beat M.Allen for a 3/10 stake at 4.00 with Coral
WON – Back J.Higgins vs D.Dale – Over 5.5 frames for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with William Hill
Back it here: