The only man left with experience of a Masters final heads into semi-finals day as clear tournament favourite. Shaun Murphy is available to back at 2.6613/8 to regain the title he last won in 2015.
Beware Carter's superior record against Murphy
'The Magician' also faces the easiest task today on paper, if such a claim can be made in this upset-strewn week. Whereas the second semi involves two men who thrived in the last round, Ali Carter looks there for the taking on the basis of his match against John Higgins.
Beware making such assumptions. Carter actually leads their head-to-head 9-7, despite enjoying considerably less success over his career. With that in mind, odds of 1.51/2 about the favourite are too short to consider.
Carter has never been all that consistent, but capable of the highest standard, as evidenced in beating Selby first up. The fact he was lucky to even be here, thanks to Ronnie O'Sullivan's withdrawal, may have taken the pressure off.
This match presents a dilemma. I think Murphy will win the tournament. His game is in great shape, even if less so in the last round, where Joe Perry's mistakes helped him through. But the outright price makes no appeal. Let's repeat the correct score combo that paid off against Perry - back 6-3, 6-4 to Murphy at around 3.39/4.
Gilbert hard to oppose in current mood
The head-to-head between Stuart Bingham and David Gilbert is one of the most extraordinary in snooker - Bingham leads 10-0. Surely if that is ever to change, it will be tonight.
Gilbert has been superb in both matches, taking to the table and venue instantly. If maintaining that standard, he will win his first ranking title tomorrow night. Granted, that is a huge 'if', given previous failures at the tail-end of tournaments.
Bingham's late finish could be a disadvantage
Bingham's comeback against Kyren Wilson was also superb and very much re-stated his own title credentials. However I'm always wary of backing a late-night (early morning actually) victor reproducing within a few hours.
Until Gilbert's form dips, he must be kept onside. If he can cope with the pressure of a Masters debut, he can overcome a bad historic trend. Even the most one-sided of runs are broken eventually.
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