We're down to the quarter-finals in York, where Ronnie O'Sullivan remains very much the man to beat. Paul Krishnamurty previews today's matches...
"Perry isn't so far superior to Ford - they are ranked 21st and 36th respectively. He only leads 4-3 in matches and 26-23 in frames in their career head-to-head."
Can anyone stop Ronnie O'Sullivan winning a record seventh UK Championship title? The Rocket is now odds-on [1.87] to emerge victorious on Sunday night after two major upsets left him the only member of the world's top-20 in the top half of the draw.
Admirable O'Donnell out of his depth against Ronnie
Martin O'Donnell - ranked 59th - is today's opponent having reached his third quarter-final of the season. The 32 year-old is one of the most improved players on the circuit and thoroughly deserved to claim Ding Junhui's scalp but this is a different order of challenge. He has never played Ronnie before and will do well to even stay competitive. I'll go for 6-2.
Ford well capable of an upset
Whoever wins will face the winner of Joe Perry and Tom Ford - where I think the outsider could amount to a bit of a value at [3.5]. Sure, 'Gentleman Joe' played a blinder to reverse an early deficit against Judd Trump but he has never been the type to back with confidence at short odds against mid-ranking players.
Although more consistent, Perry isn't so far superior to Ford - they are ranked 21st and 36th respectively. He only leads 4-3 in matches and 26-23 in frames in their career head-to-head. Ford is highly capable on his day and arguably an underachiever. Let's try a back-to-lay, cashing out partially if the Leicester man trades down to [1.5].
Where O'Sullivan could come unstuck is the final as all four remaining in the bottom half are potential champions. Indeed, that quartet are hard to separate and I suspect will produce two tight quarter-finals.
Focused Allen set for the semis
One regret from this week was momentarily losing faith in Mark Allen and over-reacting to one dodgy performance in the second round. In two matches since, he's looked ultra-focused and a serious title contender. Defying Neil Robertson in a decider was particularly impressive, given how frames hadn't gone his way in a quality match.
Stephen Maguire produced a comeback for the ages to beat Mark Williams and is a contender on that performance. The trouble is Maguire rarely puts two performances like that together. In a match that should involve plenty of high breaks, my prediction is 6-3, 6-4 to Allen at odds that combine to just above [3.0].
Finally a word about the Kyren Wilson v Stuart Bingham match. I'm on Wilson outright and am delighted with his performances so far. He deserves favouritism. However Bingham is also playing tremendously well this week and is not an opponent to take lightly. No bet here.
UK Championship Stats
Back Tom Ford 4u @ [3.5]
Place order to lay 8u @ [1.5]