We have reached the stage of the European Masters where some players are having to play twice in a day as the second round of the tournament concludes and the third round gets underway in Germany on Thursday.
We saw some real shocks on Tuesday which kept everyone on guard on Wednesday and by and large those who survived the earlier carnage have made it through to what should be three good sessions of snooker.
Three members of the top 16 in the world rankings will be gracing the baize in the morning session on Thursday. The main table will be occupied by the defending champion Kyren Wilson, who continues his title defence against the World Championship semi-finalist Si Jiahui. Table two will see Judd Trump taking on the Shootout champion Chris Wakelin while Shaun Murphy will be on show on table three. He will meet Ross Muir with Ricky Walden meeting Michael White on the other streamed table.
Three matches take place on the outside tables on Thursday morning with Thepchaiya Un-Nooh looking to continue the impressive form which saw him dump Mark Allen out 5-0 on Wednesday. He faces Ashley Carty while Ben Woollaston meets Tom Ford in a battle of two men from Leicester. Two Asian players meet in the other game when Wu Yize, who had a good win over Neil Robertson on the opening day of the event, takes on Noppon Saengkham.
The world champion Luca Brecel continues his quest for what would be successive titles for him after he sat out the Championship League. He will be on the main table in the afternoon session to take on Robbie Williams. Mark Selby lost the world final but he’ll be looking to make progress in this session when he takes on Anthony Hamilton while Mark Williams meets the former champion Jimmy Robertson. The other streamed match sees Barry Hawkins facing Zak Surety.
The standard on the outside tables aren’t too shabby either as Dave Gilbert will be occupying one of them. He faces the talented Belgian player Ben Mertens in a tricky game for the higher ranked player. The other two matches involve a Chinese player with Xiao Guodong facing Ashley Hugill and Lyu Haotian meets Andy Hicks who is enjoying a positive week after getting the bonus of Ronnie O’Sullivan pulling out of his qualifying match against him.
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We actually only know the identity of two of the eight men who will be competing in the evening session with the remainder of the line-up finalised in the morning. John Higgins is one player already through and he awaits the winner of Ross Muir and Shaun Murphy while Duane Jones is the other player safely through. Kyren Wilson or Si Jiahui will be the opponent of the Welsh player, who is the last amateur left in.
Judd Trump could also be in action in the evening session. Either he or Chris Wakelin will grace one of the main tables when the winner of that match takes on whoever comes out on top in the game between Ben Woollaston and Tom Ford. There will be a big opportunity for someone to reach the quarter final in the other match as either Ricky Walden or Michael White will face Ashley Carty or Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.
I’ll go with one over the course of the action that we have finalised and that comes in the morning session where Wu Wize feels a big price to get the better of Noppon Saengkham. A lot of judges seem to think that Wu Yize could be a superstar in the making and he did nothing to slow down that talk when he beat Neil Robertson on the opening day. Admittedly, Robertson had a trip to forget but he still needed beating and the Chinese player didn’t baulk at the task.
To be fair, Saengkham has started the season very well having made the final day of the Championship League before qualifying for this and the British Open and then winning his first match here but I always think he is vulnerable to lower ranked players and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he slips up here. The Thai lost to the likes of Jamie Clarke and Liam Davies last season and nearly came a cropper in World Championship qualifying when he needed a deciding frame to overcome Zhang Anda. Wu Yize should have taken plenty from beating Robertson and I think he’s overpriced here.
Back W.Yize to beat N.Saengkham for a 3/10 stake at 2.38 with Betway