Ali Carter was very impressive in beating Stuart Bingham on the opening day of the Championships. He will be favourite in this match and at 25/1 for the tournament; he is a very good looking EW bet. McManus beat a flat Stephen Maguire in one of the many shocks of the tournament so far, Alan seems to prefer the longer formats and I expect him to give Ali a tough match. However I think Carter can handle Alan’s tactical game and outscore him.
Carter 13-7 McManus
John Higgins v Ricky Walden
It was the most impressive performance by John Higgins in five years at the Crucible. The Wizard of Wishaw scored four centuries and was very clinical in defeating Ryan Day. Ricky Walden v Robbie Williams was the match to avoid in round one, from a viewers point of view. The first session was plagued by nerves and a poor table, once the table had been fixed, Walden improved and got over the line but it was far from convincing. If Higgins continues to perform, he will have little trouble beating Walden.
Higgins 13 – 6 Walden
Wenbo/Trump v Ding Junhui
Mark Williams v Michael Holt
Williams looked good in his first round, he defeated an under par Graeme Dott with relative ease, I don’t think you could take much from this match though; Dott put almost no pressure on Williams. Michael Holt’s first session against Robertson was brilliant and he effectively broke Robertsons resolve. In the evening session Robertson tried to attack and intimidate Holt, however he just wasn’t playing his “A” game and he allowed Holt the chances he required to get over the line. I find this a tough match to call, if Michael can perform at the same level I think he’ll win, however it’s often hard to back up a great victory with another. On that basis I think Williams will get the victory, but it should be close.
Williams 13-10 Holt
Anthony McGill v Marco Fu
This is the most intriguing match in the 2nd round for me. I have these players very evenly matched and think this will be a tense Crucible classic. Anthony McGill has continued to impress in the big matches and his calmness in defeating Shaun Murphy was very impressive. Marco Fu, probably the most underrated player of the last 15 years though shouldn’t be underestimated, he has previous for either being poor or brilliant in tournaments and his first round teased that it might be the later this year.
Marco Fu 13 –11 McGill
Barry Hawkins v Ronnie O’Sullivan
This looks like a very good draw for Ronnie, against an opponent that he hasn’t lost to in 14 years. In the subsequent years O’Sullivan has won eight straight high profile matches. Unfortunately it looks like Ronnie might be going to give us a repeat of the Welsh Open media fiasco, where it’s all about him. I hope not, however I do see him progressing to another quarter final with ease.
O’Sullivan 13 – 6 Hawkins
Mark Allen v Perry/Wilson
Sam Baird v Mark Selby
This feels like another win for Mark Selby, his first round win was solid enough, as you would expect from Mark, he stayed composed despite a late fight back from Robert Milkins and I expect he will have too much for Sam Baird over three sessions.
Selby 13-5 Baird