It’s been a strange few days, I managed to predict the first four quarter finals incorrectly while the final four have been runaway victories – which I did predict winners for, restoring some pride!
So far this tournament hasn’t really come alive; with a lack of close finishes it’s been a bit disappointing. However when the runaway victors start to clash from the quarter finals surely the excitement will rise, here is my preview of said matches.
I was wrong when I said I didn’t think Anthony would be strong enough to beat the defending champion Mark Selby. In fact the 24 year old Scot was as calm as a seasoned Crucible pro and outplayed Selby. These first two matches have been as impressive a debut as I can remember. His innocence and smiling appearance has already gained him a legion of fans.
Shaun Murphy continued his impressive form from the first round in demolishing an under par Joe Perry. I’ve not seen a lot of this match, but the stats suggest that Joe Perry had been struggling. At one point he had a pot % in the 70’s while Murphy didn’t break 90 – surprising for someone who won so comfortably.
This is as tough to call as McGill’s previous two matches have been; he’s shown no nerves so far. Expectations are higher now though, having defeated the defending champion. I’m going to predict that this wonderful debut goes on at least another round and McGill will win.
Prediction McGill 13-11
Neil Robertson v Barry Hawkins
I must say before this event I didn’t give Barry Hawkins much of a chance, his form in the last six months had been very poor. I’m glad to say Barry has proven me and a lot of other people wrong and his five frames on the spin against Mark Allen on Saturday night was fantastic. The ability to win in one visit is essential when attempting a comeback; it puts scoreboard pressure on your opponent and more importantly fills you with confidence.
Neil Robertson hasn’t yet been tested, but like any pro at the top of his game he is quietly dispatching his opponents with relative ease, using little energy in the process – something that is vital in this event.
I will be making my annual visit to the Crucible on Tuesday and will be in the front row for this match on Tuesday afternoon.
I’ve been wrongly predicting a lot of close matches so far and I’m not going to stop. Barry will need to score heavily to stay with Neil but it will be in the safety that this match is won, Neil can get bogged down in matches, he likes to look at every possible angle as he struts around the table and I think he can lose his potting rhythm while doing this. If Barry can continuously get Neil in awkward situations he can win. However I just think Neil is the stronger player and if he plays to his best he wins this match 7 times out of 10.
Prediction Robertson 13-10
Ding Junhui v Judd Trump
This should be the match of the round, two of the tournament favourites who are both eying their first World Title. The two most talented players to have never won this illustrious title have both looked in good form so far. Ding was excellent in dispatching John Higgins; he made at least three outstanding clearances to clinch crucial frames against the Scot.
Judd Trump had to beat a very dangerous Marco Fu, at one point Fu had a pot success of 95% but trailed 9-5.
These two had an epic semi final four years ago and although a shorter match I think we could be in for more of the same. I would give the edge in long potting and safety to Trump but I think Ding is the better break builder with more control of the cue ball. With these very tight matches it usually comes down to the close frames where both players get a chance, tough clearances in these frames can count for more than frames won in one visit. So far Ding has been required to do this more frequently and has looked up to task.
Prediction Ding 13-11
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Stuart Bingham
I can’t say I’m overly looking forward to this match. Ronnie has been cruising through this tournament as I predicted and I think it might continue with this match. Stuart often looks intimidated when he faces Ronnie and he will need the Rockets questionable mental state to continue to deteriorate further if he is to win. Stuart defeated a poor Graeme Dott in round two while Ronnie was just too strong for Matthew Stevens – the most interesting part was the BBC’s slow mo of Ronnie smashing his cue into the cushion, it was amazing to see how much his cue bent.
Video of this incident is below:
Prediction O’Sullivan 13-6