Paul Krishnamurty previews today's quarter-finals, including the 66th match between snooker legends Ronnie O'Sullivan and John Higgins...
The upsets keep on coming at the Marshall Arena, with the outsider winning both of yesterday's quarter-finals. Of the six players left in, only one is in the top-seven of the current world rankings.
Upsets leave Ronnie poised for eighth title
The other man has won this title seven times and reached 13 finals. It is increasingly hard to see Ronnie O'Sullivan not adding to either tally.
His hardest task comes tonight in what will be his 66th encounter with John Higgins. Ronnie leads 34-28, with three draws. A tremendous rivalry, no doubt, but more one-sided of late. Of nine matches in the past four years, O'Sullivan won seven.
Higgins played fairly well in edging out Mark Allen in the first round, albeit making some terrible mistakes at pressure moments. He isn't the force of old but generally produces a standard that will beat 90% of players.
He'll need more if Ronnie turns up in anything like the form shown to fight back to beat Ding Junhui. The revelation that he is practising six hours a day should terrify the opposition.
Easier opponents await in latter stages
I fancy him to win this with plenty to spare and go on to dominate the tournament. The hardest possible match afterwards is either Stephen Maguire or Stuart Bingham in the final. Two players he has very strong records against.
Two confident bets are recommended. Back O'Sullivan to win the tournament at 2.245/4 and the -1.5 Frame Handicap today at 1.774/5.
The odds about the earlier match between Stephen Maguire and Yan Bingtao are virtually even, correctly in my view. The Scot leads their head-to-head 3-0 but their last match was over two years ago, so the 20 year-old has a legitimate excuse.
Two tons is realistic for Maguire
Rather than trying to pick between them, let's try a few specials from the #OddsOnThat section. First take the enhanced odds of 4/1 about Maguire hitting two tons. Good value about one of the game's great breakbuilders.
Also for small stakes, take 6/1 and 13/2 respectively about each player hitting a fifty break in each of the first two frames. If either hits one in the first, the combined stake will represent 5/2 or 11/4 on a repeat in the second.
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