MICHAEL Day (daisy8ball) has been in incredible form for us this week. Can his run continue on Thursday in the opening quarter-finals?
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Marco Fu | Thursday 13:00
Ronnie O’Sullivan was far from his best in his opening round win, but with the departures of Judd Trump, Mark Selby and Ding he is now as short as 11/10 (Coral) to win the tournament, all good news for my outright prediction.
He'll face a very tough opponent in Marco Fu who put in a sensational display in round one with fantastic break building including that historic maximum 147 break. The man from Hong Kong also has a very decent record against the Rocket, avoiding defeat or better 11 out of 25 times in their career meetings. Fu also beat Ronnie in the final of the 2007 Grand Prix, proving he has the bottle to do it on the big stage.
I’m not saying to go out and back Fu at 9/2 with William Hill because I think the 1/5 (Sportingbet) shot of O’Sullivan will win, but there are good opportunities in other markets, it’s just how brave you want to go.
I expect Fu to certainly win frames in this match and should get at least half of the six needed. An underlying story in this match is Ronnie’s pursuit of the great Stephen Hendry’s century record – he only needs one more to eclipse it. It shouldn’t put the favourite off, but he would probably like it out of the way sooner rather than later.
William Hill's offering of 5/4 for Ronnie O’Sullivan to win and both players to get three frames market is very good value, as other markets such as handicaps and frames/total frames involving Fu are odds on.
Neil Robertson v Ali Carter | Thursday 19:00 | BBC
I tipped outsider Ali Carter to win his first round match, and he not only won, but put on one of his best displays in recent years in defeating World number five Barry Hawkins. Maybe it was the standing ovation at the Ally Pally that inspired ‘The Captain’, but the 6-1 victory was evidence he is back to health.
Neil Robertson put in a professional performance in his first game, coming through a close fought encounter against Rob Milkins, someone he has had trouble with before.
The Australian has a neat record when it comes to career head to heads with Carter and in recent times he has won their last four meetings. Robertson is favourite again and best priced at 4/9 with Paddy Power to come through with Carter at 11/5 (Betfred).
However I think Ali is so pleased to be back just playing, he has a refreshed attitude to the sport and in many ways wants to repay the fans for their support during his horrible illness. I believe he will steadily improve as the season progresses. I don’t think he’ll win this match but I do think he’ll put on a good display.
Once again in what I think is a good bet, I’m going to William Hill's match result and both players to get three frames market. Robertson can be found at 6/5 here.
If I was being speculative I may also have a small stake on Ali Carter to make a century in the match, I’m pretty sure he will get close, after making a 130 and 95 on Tuesday night. Over 0.5 centuries for him is 3/1 with Bet365.
Ronnie O'Sullivan v Marco Fu – Ronnie O'Sullivan and both players to win three frames (5/4 William Hill)
Neil Robertson v Ali Carter – Neil Robertson to win and both players to win three frames (6/5 William Hill)
Neil Robertson v Ali Carter – Carter Over 0.5 Centuries (3/1 Bet365)