Two winners from three bagged our daily bets column eight units profit. Here's Paul Krishnamurty's best bets for Sunday's action from York...
"Stuart Carrington played well in both the English and NI Opens, only losing to Ronnie in the latter and trouncing this opponent 5-1 in the former."
This weekend last year, as John Higgins performed miserably in defeat to Alan McManus, it felt like the writing was on the wall. He certainly wasn't talking a good game. Not for the first time during his legendary career, predictions of the Wizard of Wishaw's demise proved premature when he reached the world final. His recent numbers are pretty decent too.
Nevertheless, Higgins remains unreliable nowadays. Still world class at his best, but prone to going missing during matches and slipping to a very poor standard. We can only guess which version materialises tonight but his opponent is well capable of exploiting any weaknesses.
Lu Ning reached the last-16 here last year and has a solid record in early rounds since. He only lost 5-4 to Higgins last month in Yushan and opened here with a 6-0 win. I can certainly see this match being surprisingly close and winning the four frames to beat the 2.5 Frame Handicap looks well within range.
Xi Wen quite capable of avoiding humiliation
It is much harder to make a case for Judd Trump losing earlier in the day, given his general aura of invincibility nowadays. His opponent is nevertheless capable - Mei Xi Wen beat Ronnie O'Sullivan in the English Open before giving Mark Selby a fright in the quarter-finals.
Nine of Trump's matches this season have resulted in whitewashes, including the previous round, but I think Xi Wen has enough about him to avoid that humiliation. I'll go for 6-2 at 3/1.
Carrington under-rated to repeat recent win
My best bets are on the outside tables. First while I am a big Yan Bingtao fan in terms of talent and potential, Stuart Carrington is definitely under-estimated at 6/4 against the unreliable youngster.
The Grimsby man scored well in the first round and played well in both the English and NI Opens, only losing to Ronnie in the latter and trouncing this opponent 5-1 in the former.
Finally Kurt Maflin is preferred in what the market prices an even match-up against Jimmy Robertson. Since producing a once-in-a-lifetime performance to win the European Masters last October - one of the all-time great snooker shocks - Robertson has achieved very little of note. Maflin seems ahead on his form during the same period, and won their recent encounter 4-3.
Back Stuart Carrington 3u @ 2.546/4
Back Kurt Maflin 3u @ 2.01/1 (v Robertson)