The opening day of the Tour Championship sees three of the four quarter finals getting underway across the two tables inside Venue Cymru up in Llandudno as the final Coral Series event kicks off with a real bang.
We are guaranteed quality throughout the week because only the best of the best on the season has made it into the event, but the three matches on show over the course of the day look of the real highest quality.
Shaun Murphy vs Mark Allen (Tuesday 1pm & 7pm)
The match on the main table in the afternoon session is the one which features the Welsh Open champion Shaun Murphy and the man who has been involved in an incredible six semi-finals this season without making a single final in Mark Allen.
There is no doubt that the former Masters champion has been consistent this term, although he would probably swap his campaign for a title or a place in a final. Murphy has won two ranking events for the first time this year and would probably be targeting a third between now and the end of the campaign. When I looked at this from a betting point of view I thought the even money that Allen would make the highest break was attractive but I’ve invested in him outright and don’t need to go in again.
Neil Robertson vs Ding Junhui (Tuesday 1pm & Wednesday 1pm)
The second table will have arguably the tie of the first round on it on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon when the World Grand Prix and European Masters winner Neil Robertson faces off against the UK Championship winner Ding Junhui.
This should be a cracking match over the best of 17 frames. Both these men love to get the balls open and get break building and I don’t see that changing here. Robertson will probably want to prove that he is a century machine still despite the heroics in that department of Judd Trump this season, while Ding scores for fun whether he is in form of not. With that in mind, I think the 11/10 on over 3.5 centuries is a little big here. This tournament is being played behind closed doors so there will be a practice feel to it, especially on table two where the focus isn’t as intense. These two could fill their boots here.
Mark Selby vs Yan Bingtao (Tuesday 7pm & Wednesday 7pm)
As well as the match between Shaun Murphy and Mark Allen finishing in the evening there is another match beginning on table two which sees Mark Selby taking on Yan Bingtao in what is possibly the most intriguing game of the quarter finals.
These two have met twice in their careers, both over the best of seven, and both have been pretty one-sided but I don’t expect this one to be unless Bingtao wins comfortably. Selby rarely gets beaten easily in long distance matches though and I’m not sure he is going to begin now. I sense Bingtao is playing the better of the two but this is likely to turn into a tactical battle and you can’t go against Selby in those. That makes me think the best bet is over 14.5 frames where we only need 9-6 or closer either way for this to land. I think these two will deliver the goods on that.
VOID – Back N.Robertson vs D.Junhui – Over 3.5 centuries for a 4/10 stake at 2.10 with Betfair
Back it here:
VOID – Back M.Selby vs Y.Bingtao – Over 14.5 frames for a 4/10 stake at 1.95 with William Hill
Back it here: