We are creeping towards the end of the first round of the World Championship and the tournament continues inside the Crucible Theatre on Tuesday with three more matches starting out over the course of the day.
John Higgins was the latest to join the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan and Neil Robertson in the second round on Monday, and on Tuesday the world number one Judd Trump, Champion of Champions winner Mark Allen and former finalist Barry Hawkins are on the schedule.
Day 3 Recap
It was a pretty dramatic day of action on Monday. Three matches reached their conclusion. John Higgins and Tian Pengfei were meant to finish first but they were so slow that it didn’t finish until the evening. Higgins won the last six frames to come from 4-7 down to win 10-7. The other two matches also went the way of the seed with Anthony McGill pulling clear of Ricky Walden to win 10-5 and Kyren Wilson beat Gary Wilson 10-8 having trailed 5-1 at one point. Two matches started but didn’t finish. They see Ding Junhui holding a 5-4 overnight lead over Stuart Bingham and Jack Lisowski having the same advantage over Ali Carter.
In Play Betting
There are two matches which have started which end on Tuesday which can be used for in play betting, although I’ve already got bets on both of them which means I don’t really need to bet on them again. If I was to bet I would probably back the match between Ding Junhui and Stuart Bingham to go close but the line is 17.5 and both men are playing well enough that if they light up for an hour they could pull away. Hopefully that is Bingham who does that.
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Mark Allen vs Lyu Haotian (Tuesday 10am & 7pm)
The match to get underway in the morning session on Tuesday happens to conclude on the same day and it sees the winner of the Champions of Champions earlier in the season, Mark Allen, meeting Lyu Haotian who came through possibly the best qualifying match in the final round in terms of standard.
Allen looked awesome in winning that Champion of Champions but he has done little of any significance since then, however he will doubtless have been putting a lot of work in leading up to this tournament so we should expect him to have a good level of performance here. He might need it against Haotian who played very well to qualify for this event and who has a win over Marco Fu to his name inside the Crucible already, albeit when Fu had serious problems with his eyes. There is too much of an unknown on how Allen will play here to bet with certainty so I’ll see how the first session goes and react accordingly.
Judd Trump vs Liam Highfield (Tuesday 2.30pm & Wednesday 2.30pm)
The afternoon session sees the world number one Judd Trump begin his quest for a second world title when he takes on a man who has been to the Crucible enough now not to have too many nerves in Liam Highfield.
Trump comes in here as the overwhelming favourite to win the tournament after winning five titles on the season but Highfield upset the odds to number the highest ranked player in the qualifying event out and he’ll be looking to do similar in the leading light in the main draw here. You would expect Trump to win this match and win it well but there is a lot of pressure and expectation on him and we’ve already seen the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins come out of the blocks slowly so that puts me off getting involved in this one prior to the match starting.
Barry Hawkins vs Matthew Selt (Tuesday 7pm & Wednesday 7pm)
The last match to get underway on the fourth day of competition sees the former finalist Barry Hawkins taking on the man who was the first player to face Stephen Hendry in nine years earlier this season in Matt Selt.
Hawkins has had a consistent enough season but he hasn’t made a final of any kind which is rare for him were he to be on the top of his game. His frailty when holding a lead has come back to haunt him in a couple of big matches as well which isn’t ideal. Selt pottered about for most of the season but he exploded into form in the Gibraltar Open, where playing Hendry in the first round undoubtedly motivated him, and made it through to the semi-final and then he qualified in good style for this event.
I’m expecting a close match here and as anyone who has read my preview will already know, I’m expecting a Selt win. I’m also expecting to see a few centuries here too. I mentioned in that preview that Selt is scoring like a dream at the minute with six tons in his two qualifying wins. We have seen Hawkins score well throughout the season including in his defeat to Ronnie O’Sullivan in the semi-final of the Tour Championship. This should be a cracking match between two players who know how to score big so the even money on over 2.5 centuries will do me here.
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