SNOOKER specialist George Weyham (@GWSnookerTips) previews the first round of the World Open, picking out his favourite fancies.
Igor Figueiredo v Ali Carter | Tuesday 29th October 2019, 11:30
You have to take pro-am events with a pinch of salt in snooker. Are the players actually trying that hard? Are they lackadaisical? Acclimatising to the time frame? Is it just a bit of practise to loosen the arm?
The pre-World Open event, the Haining Open, had been happening since Tuesday containing lots of pros and mainly Chinese amateurs.
Igor Figueiredo is one exception as a Brazilian and still has amateur status even though he will be competing in the World Open on Tuesday against Ali Carter, after a terrific win in qualifying as a wildcard. That came against top Chinese prospect Yuan Sijun, 5-3. Sijun got his revenge at the English Open drubbing Igor 4-0 but his victories at the Haining Open have been very eye-catching to say the least.
In consecutive matches, he defeated three pros; two experienced ones in Michael Holt and Mark King then Chinese hot-shot Luo Honghao in the quarter-final. His run was halted by Li Hang in Saturday’s semi-final 4-2 but this puts Igor in fine fettle for his showdown with Carter.
Forty-two-year-old Figueiredo, a former pro on tour, has got a fine amateur pedigree in that he was a runner up in the 2009 World Amateur Championship. Last year he won the inaugural WSF World Seniors Championship, lost in the final of the UK Seniors Championship and this year won the Pan American Snooker Championship.
His opponent Ali Carter has been practising for this in the Championship League back in the UK, losing four of his six matches (best-of-five). He’s having a poor season it has to be said. He’s lost to three players outside the world’s top 50 in Alan McManus (ranked 54), Alexander Ursenbacher (97) and Jak Jones (71). Then worse than this, got a beating off an unknown chinese amateur called Zhang Yi, in Shanghai, 6-3. So real cause for concern for the Captain.
If there was no concrete form to go by, you would say Figueiredo is probably priced about right at 11/2 but not in his current mood. He should be shorter (opened 6/1 with William Hill).
Carter is getting used to losing a lot – nine times now this season from 16 – and a 10th defeat could be on the horizon against the golden oldie Brazilian. I think the 11/2 (Bet365) on an outright Figueiredo win is well worth a go.
Betway go 13/8 on Figueiredo +2.5 frames on the handicap and that’s the second port of call, requiring three frames to win that bet. Carter has conceded three frames in all seven of his best-of-nine or 11 matches this season plus his last four last season, so 11 in a row.