The World Championship qualifying competition continues on Monday and by the end of the action at the English Institute of Sport, we will know which 32 men will be fighting it out for the 16 places at the Crucible Theatre.
Drama and tension has been guaranteed in this event and it certainly hasn’t failed to deliver on that score. Expect more of the same on Monday as the matches yet to start take up two sessions of action with the games that begun on Sunday afternoon conclude on Monday afternoon.
Day 5 Recap
We lost some big players on Sunday as former champion Peter Ebdon, European Masters winner Jimmy Robertson and Chinese star Xiao Guodong all bit the dust while we also saw a guaranteed spot at the main event for an amateur secured with James Cahill and Michael Judge both advancing to a final round meeting later in the week. Asian stars Liang Wenbo, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Yan Bingtao all made it through though, as did Martin Gould.
It was a good day for us on the betting front in terms of the only settled bet of the day being a winner. Although Jimmy Robertson went down he did take his match with Joe O’Connor beyond 16.5 frames, eventually losing in a deciding frame to keep the profit for the week continuing to rise nicely.
11 matches get going in this morning session and all eyes will be on one table in particular which will be streamed live. That is the clash between two former world finalists when Ali Carter and Jimmy White thrash it out. A former champion is on the other streamed table in the shape of Graeme Dott. He takes on Xu Si who had an impressive run of scoring in the first round and would be dangerous if he brings that level with him here.
The outside tables will be busy on Monday and they will have plenty of quality on them too. Ryan Day and Joe Perry are both in action on them. Day meets Tian Pengfei while Perry goes up against Zhang Yong. Former runner-up Matthew Stevens is on show when he faces Chris Wakelin while Kurt Maflin meets Pang Junxu. Li Hang will look to make it through the final round when he takes on Ian Burns while Ben Woollaston takes on Nigel Bond. Michael White will look to move to within a win of another Crucible tilt when he meets John Astley with Mark King playing Lu Ning and Scott Donaldson taking on the former winner Ken Doherty in the other matches.
We are already one session into the afternoon session and we can pretty much give Lu Haotian his match against Jordan Brown. He leads 9-0 and he’s not losing from there. Robert Milkins is 6-2 up on Sunny Akani but there isn’t more than three frames in the other matches so we’re set for a dramatic session here.
Anthony McGill is 6-3 up on Duane Jones while Robbie Williams holds the same lead against Luo Honghao. That score is also the advantage that Zhou Yuelong has on Liam Highfield, Mark Davis holds against Fergal O’Brien and that Zhao Xintong will take into the final session against Noppon Saengkham. The other three matches have Alan McManus 4-3 up on Martin O’Donnell, Sam Craigie leading Tom Ford 5-3 and Ricky Walden 5-4 up on Eden Sharav.
I’ll go with a couple of bets over the course of what isn’t the easiest day to call on Monday. The bet I like in the morning session into the evening one is for Lu Ning to beat Mark King. These two met in China last week and Ning won 6-2 and while I accept this is completely different, the current form of the two and the season they have had thus far makes me think that Ning can win here. King is fairly experienced but he hasn’t won many matches at all in recent times and isn’t scoring either. Contrast that to Ning who has made the quarters in India, semis in Gibraltar and may well have had more wins in him in China had he not run into eventual champion Neil Robertson in the third round. He beat Barry Hawkins in the first round of that event so he’s clearly going well. King might have the advantage if this gets really tight towards the end but he’s got to get it that far first and I’m not convinced he will. Ning for me.
In the afternoon matches I’m not seeing why Eden Sharav is 3/1 to beat Ricky Walden. He might be 5-4 down but there is nothing in this one and actually Sharav probably felt like he won the first session having been 5-2 behind and winning the last two. Walden’s pillow won’t have felt quite as comfortable overnight after that. I like Walden but when he’s a favourite he can be known to make life tough for himself. Sharav has had a 61, 81 and 77 break in this match and if he keeps scoring here he’s overpriced to turn this one around completely.
WON – Back L.Ning to beat M.King for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with Coral
WON – Back E.Sharav to beat R.Walden for a 2/10 stake at 4.00 with Bet365