The first round of the World Grand Prix concludes and the second round begins inside the Centaur Building at the Cheltenham Racecourse on Wednesday and it does so with a flurry of big names taking centre stage.
The shocks kept on coming in this tournament on Tuesday with Mark Williams and Neil Robertson following Ronnie O’Sullivan in exiting the event. That is sure to have had the favourites on tenterhooks heading into Wednesday’s play.
The match of the first round gets the action underway on the main table when Mark Selby takes on Shaun Murphy in a clash which really shouldn’t be taking place this early in a tournament regardless of the seeding system. The last first round match on the TV table sees the recently crowned German Masters winner Kyren Wilson facing Matthew Stevens in a tasty encounter.
On the other table the quality should be decent enough too. John Higgins will attempt to get his campaign back on track when he takes on the Thailand operator Noppon Saengkham in a clash which has banana skin written all over it for the Scot. The other match sees German Masters finalist Dave Gilbert facing Yan Bingtao in an exciting looking match.
The second round begins in the evening session and it does so on the TV table with Judd Trump back on the baize after surviving a huge comeback by Stuart Carrington on Tuesday evening. He goes up against Tom Ford in a match which will get tricky if he lets it. Barry Hawkins will then look to get back into the quarter finals of this tournament when he goes up against Marco Fu, who should be buzzing from beating Ronnie O’Sullivan on the opening night.
Table Two begins with the Robertson slayers as Xiao Guodong takes on Mark Davis in a big match for both men with a deep run a possibility for whoever wins based on how their quarter has opened right up. The winner of that one will face the winner of the second match on this table in the quarter final. That sees Stephen Maguire going up against Yuan Sijun.
Xiao Guodong beat Mark Davis 5-0 earlier in the season and I like the way he is playing currently. I think he is a good bet to come through their second round clash on Wednesday evening. He looked to be hitting the ball very well against Neil Robertson and showed signs of putting big breaks together, which continues what he was doing in Berlin last week.
Since the final of the English Open it has been a pretty dry time for Mark Davis and although he had a good win over friend Jimmy Robertson in the first round there was nothing particularly fluent about his play. I think he could be there for the taking from the Chinese player and I’m happy to back Xiao to come through accordingly.
WON – Back X.Guodong to beat M.Davis for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with Coral
Back him here: