Masters Snooker: Back terrific trio's quarter-finals to go close

Ronnie O'Sullivan at the snooker table
Ronnie O'Sullivan faces a test in his Masters quarter-final against Neil Robertson

Gary Moss saltues the extraordinary trio that have dominated snooker for 30 years and recommends a bet for each Masters quarter-final...

"Between them, they have won 36 Triple Crown events and racked up a combined 138 quarter-final appearances across these majors. This achievement is of the highest magnitude and proves just how long they have now sat at snooker's top table."

Thirty years after Ronnie O'Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams turned professional, the talented trio are still fighting it out at the business end of the sport's most prestigious invitational event.

As we prepare for the quarter-finals of this year's Alexandra Palace Cazoo Masters, not only are these three greats still in the shakeup but they all still have realistic chances of taking the title.

Once in a lifetime talents

Heading into their late 40s, you could be forgiven for thinking their presence at this stage of a major event is a sign of a lack of emerging talent. While there is clearly a debate to be had there, the consistency in which these fine cueists are still delivering is a sign that we are dealing with a once-in-a-lifetime crop of players.

O'Sullivan, Higgins and Williams are snooker royalty - here to be enjoyed.

The only real way to put their accomplishments into some kind of perspective is to look at the numbers.

John Higgins at table 1280.jpg

Between them, they have won 36 Triple Crown events and racked up a combined 138 quarter-final appearances across these majors. This achievement is of the highest magnitude and proves just how long they have now sat at snooker's very top table.

The numbers and the records keep coming and this week marks another opportunity to add to their undisputed legacy.

Wizard fancied to march on

Higgins faces Williams in the last eight. The Scot goes in as favourite at 1/2 owing to his superior form so far this season. After dismantling Zhao Xintong 6-2, he will be many people's pick and there's value to be had at 8/11 to win with a handicap of -1.5.

But Williams should not be discounted as he fought back superbly from 3-1 down to beat Yan Bingtao 6-4 and flicked into entertainer mode in the process. This one could go close.

Big test for Ronnie

O'Sullivan prepares to face a familiar foe in Australia's Neil Robertson. He looked in zone in beating Jack Lisowski a comfortable 6-1 but this match is another level of test and the pair can hardly be separated in the market.

Robertson is available at evens and presents the value while O'Sullivan is a marginal favourite at 4/5.

Looking to place some smart money? Both matches could go close and you can back +9.5 frames in both matches at an appealing 4.62.

Selby and Trump firm favourites to make semis

After today's class of '92 show, the next chapter of the rivalry between Judd Trump and Kyren Wilson kicks off on Friday before Mark Selby takes on Barry Hawkins.

Wilson isn't the kind of player to be overawed by Trump's firepower and has beaten him on big occasions multiple times, including in the Master semi-finals in 2018 and the World Championship in 2020.

TrumpWinsMasters1280.jpg

Both battled through deciding frames to reach this stage and will be looking to build on it, but the manner in which Trump saw off Mark Allen suggests he could just be about to find his form.

He spoke about pride in his performance after the match and how it will resurrect his self-belief after losing some close matches this season.

He's 1/2 for the match and to hit more than 1.5 centuries. My pick though would be Trump to lead 3-1 after the first four frames at 2/1.

The current world champion and world number one Selby is the kind of player who likes to quietly go about his business and he was typically efficient in dispatching of Stephen Maguire without hitting top form.

We expect much of the same a win with a handicap of -2.5 is an enticing 11/10 shot.

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