After an intense week of snooker out in Bucharest so far we are left with four of the best players in the world to play out what look on paper to be two potentially tantalising semi-finals in the European Masters on Saturday.
The cast list for the semis are the world champion Mark Selby, arguably the best player to pick up a cue in Ronnie O’Sullivan, the best overseas player there has been in Neil Robertson and the pretender to the throne Judd Trump. We’re set for some sizzling snooker with both matches now over the best of 11 frames.
Mark Selby vs Judd Trump
The first semi sees the world champion taking on the man many sees as a world champion in waiting. Both men cruised through their quarter final without dropping a frame so both look to be in great form which only furthers the chance of this being a classic.
Mark Selby has played four matches this week having had one of his matches held over from qualifying and he has won three of them 4-0. You might argue he hasn’t had too tough a draw but he did beat the awkward Barry Hawkins in the last 16 and he was one of the men whitewashed by the Jester.
Trump had to survive a deciding frame in the first round this week when Ben Woollaston pushed him to the limit but since then he has seen off Andrew Higginson and John Higgins without losing a frame with a barrage of high scoring. He looks to be hitting his straps at just the right time too.
Given how well both are playing picking a winner between these two could be folly so I think the safer and indeed the better bet is for the match to contain more than 9.5 frames. Judd Trump is nailing frames in one visit and when the gauntlet is laid down to him that is exactly what Selby does too so this one should stay close throughout.
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Neil Robertson
If the opening semi-final is good this one has the potential to eclipse even that as Ronnie O’Sullivan continues his search for a first title of the season when he plays a Neil Robertson who unlike many isn’t beaten by O’Sullivan before they go out onto the table.
I wouldn’t say we’ve seen vintage O’Sullivan this week. You only have to look at the scoring that he has produced for evidence of that. We had to wait until the final frame of his quarter final with Mark Davis for his first century of the week – in his fourth match. That is very un-Ronnie like and suggests he isn’t completely on top form although I do expect the extension in the format to bring about better snooker from him.
There can be no arguments with regards to Robertson’s form. He made centuries in his first two matches this week – wins over Graeme Dott and Rhys Clark and while he never hit the heights in his quarter final against Anthony McGill that was a weird match where both players appeared to be put off by the referee and the balls never went right.
I can’t wait for this semi. Robertson raises it for Ronnie while whenever O’Sullivan plays someone he respects, and there aren’t many of those in the game, we often see him at his best so this one is set up to be brilliant. At the odds though I just fancy Robertson.
Prior to defeat to O’Sullivan in the Welsh Open final earlier in the year, Robertson had won two of their previous three matches with only a deciding frame defeat in the other one and even in that Welsh Open final Robertson led 5-2 before seven frames of majestic brilliance from O’Sullivan so the Australian has a good record against Ronnie and he can extend that here.
Back M.Selby vs J.Trump – Over 9.5 frames for a 4/10 stake at 2.10 with Paddy Power
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Back N.Robertson to beat R.O’Sullivan for a 3/10 stake at 2.63 with Betfred
Back him here: