Northern Ireland Open Snooker 2023 – Quarter Finals Tips and Betting Preview

The quarter finals of the Northern Ireland Open take place across a bumper day of snooker on Friday with all four matches being played out over two sessions as we find out which four men will move into the one table setup at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast.

As always seems to be the case in a Home Nations event, we have a couple of the top stars of the game mixed in with some seasoned campaigners and one or two lower players hoping to break through this week in the quarter finals. That should make for a decent day of snooker.

Afternoon Session

Ricky Walden vs Jack Lisowski

The opening quarter final sees two men who are not averse to going deep in tournaments meeting when Ricky Walden looks to return to a ranking event semi-final when he goes up against a Jack Lisowski who hopes that this could finally be the week he delivers a trophy to his CV.

Lisowski has been playing well for a while now and we keep saying it is only a matter of time before he finally wins a tournament and the way the draw is going it could very easily be this week as he knows he doesn’t have a top 16 player in his path until the final. Walden will feel the same if he can see off Lisowski though and there have been times this week where even under the radar Walden has looked very good. You would have to go with Lisowski here as he is the better player and has played on the main table most of the week but Walden is good enough to be respected so I’m happy to take a watching brief on this one.

Barry Hawkins vs Dave Gilbert

The second quarter final of the afternoon looks like it could be a cracking contest as the former finalist here and European Masters winner Barry Hawkins will look to remain on course for a second tournament win of the season when he goes up against Dave Gilbert for whom staying in the top 16 is a priority along with adding to his ranking successes.

Hawkins has looked very good here and is cutting the air of a man who has a title to his name this season. I wouldn’t say he is free rolling with that trophy in the bag because he has the opportunity to make this a huge season but he is clearly comfortable with how he is playing right now. To be fair, Dave Gilbert suggested he hadn’t been doing as much practicing as he would have liked earlier in the week but he has played very well here. He has scored very well and generally looks up for the task so this should be a great match. I would side with Hawkins here but Gilbert is more than capable so I’m happy to leave this one alone too.

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Evening Session

Judd Trump vs Stephen Maguire

There is one quarter final on the main table in the evening session on Friday and it sees the man looking for a third successive ranking event success in Judd Trump taking on a player who is looking to get back to the winners’ enclosure in Stephen Maguire.

Trump is flying at the minute having won in the English Open and the Wuhan Open but the longer this week has gone on there has been some sloppy play by him but to his credit he has turned it on when he had to even when he has started matches indifferently and you would imagine as the format increases so will his level of play. Maguire merits some real respect here though. He has had to battle a few times this week but he has knocked in three centuries as well as a host of other decent breaks and he certainly isn’t going to go down fighting. You can get a fair price on Maguire to cover a 2.5 frame handicap and I think Trump is offering up enough chances for the Scot to cover that. I wouldn’t be completely surprised if Maguire is the man to end the winning streak of Trump but to be fair to the former winner here he has a handy knack of winning close matches at the minute. Maguire with the start for me.

Chris Wakelin vs Yuan Sijun

There is always one quarter final played out on table two in a Home Nations event and this week it sees the Shootout winner Chris Wakelin going up against a Yuan Sijun who will be looking to emulate the likes of Zhang Anda and Liu Hongyu who made the semi-final of the English Open and book a last four spot of his own.

Wakelin will come into this match as the more experienced player and showed he could perform under pressure when winning the Shootout last season but I’m not convinced he is playing overly well this term and I think he is vulnerable to the Chinese player who is scoring like a dream this week. Wakelin has only made one frame winning break in his three wins here this week while Sijun has been knocking in a number of tons and plenty of 80+ breaks and looks to be hitting the ball very nicely. Based on everything we have seen this week Sijun looks a worthy favourite to me and probably should be shorter than the 4/5 quotes there are about him winning.


Back S.Maguire (+2.5 frames) to beat J.Trump for a 3/10 stake at 1.80 with Betway

Back Y.Sijun to beat C.Wakelin for a 3/10 stake at 1.80 with Betway