Paul Krishnamurty previews Friday's pair of quarter-finals, including what could be a match for the ages between Selby and Trump...
"Selby is a different player in majors...Three centuries (plus two more in the nineties) against Maguire in the last round suggest he's tuned up and in contention for a fourth Masters title."
Back Mark Selby @ 1.94
Trump and Selby hard to split in mouthwatering clash
On their basis of their respective first-round performances and of course their reputations, we could be set for the match of the tournament this afternoon.
Both Judd Trump and Mark Selby stated their intent with resounding victories but only one can reach the semis. They shared ten previous encounters 5-5, and the betting is similarly close with Selby slightly ahead at [1.94].
That head-to-head reads pretty well for Trump as he lost their first three matches, well before he broke into the top-16. He's also been in better form in recent months. I'm not sure that means too much on this particular occasion, though.
Selby set to peak again in a major
Selby is a different player in majors and their record in this grade is incomparable. Three centuries (plus two more in the nineties) against Maguire in the last round suggest he's tuned up and in contention for a fourth Masters title.
Trump has never reached a Masters final or in any major since 2014, but is probably playing his best snooker for at least a couple of years. Beating O'Sullivan in Northern Ireland Open was a real advance. He was clearly ultra-motivated to beat Kyren Wilson, brought his A-game and thrashed his new rival.
A similar standard would be hard to beat by anyone, but Trump's level often differs wildly between rounds and even within matches. I would back a peak-form Selby against anyone in a major and, at a venue where he has performed so many heroics, is preferred.
Robbo has both the short and long term edge
Either Neil Robertson or Barry Hawkins will complete the semi-final line-up. Both scored good wins, albeit against below-par opponents, in the first round.
Going into the event, I was much more positive about the Aussie's chances. For spells at the UK Championship before a narrow defeat to the eventual runner-up, he looked back to his best. Ditto when reaching International final.
That analysis still stands after a good comeback to beat Mark Williams. Robbo is a tournament specialist, who reached three finals in four years before his wider dry spell.
He leads Hawkins 6-4 in their head-to-head, which more or less reflects their standard over the years. Barry isn't dismissed by any means, but he wasn't showing much before Christmas and didn't have to perform miracles to beat Murphy on that display.
2019 Masters P/L:
Back Mark Selby 5u @ [1.94]
Back Neil Robertson 4u @ [1.8]