Paul Krishnamurty previews Sunday's action from the Marshall Arena, recommending bets in five matches...
"Sunny Akani nearly pulled off an upset for the ages in the 2017 renewal when losing 6-5 to Ronnie in the last-16...he has become a formidable match player."
Ronnie O'Sullivan resumes his bid for an eighth UK title on Sunday and at odds of just 1.111/9, many regard him as a near-certainty to progress to the last-32.
Ursenbacher is a youngster to follow
I strongly disagree. In Alexander Ursenbacher, the Rocket faces one of the best young prospects. The only time they met previously, the Swiss player won 4-2 and he's definitely improved in the 22 months since that Welsh Open encounter.
Plus O'Sullivan is far from bombproof at the moment. Yes, he reached the NI Open final but didn't perform anywhere near his best and repeatedly had to come from behind.
Back Alexander Ursenbacher 2u @ 9.28/1 Place order to lay 6u @ 3.02/1
Ursenbacher looks an ideal trading option - take 9.28/1 pre-match with a view towards laying back for three times the stake if shortening to 3.02/1 at any stage. This could be achieved by taking a 2-0 or 3-1 lead (maybe less), or taking the match to a decider.
Highfield can make Selby work
As Lukas Klekkers proved last week, Mark Selby can never be defined as a certainty. Uniquely among elite players, the Jester is a perennial slow starter who is frequently taken to the wire by vastly inferior opponents.
Highfield falls into that category but has won two of their seven previous encounters. When they met at this stage last year, Selby won 6-3 and by the same scoreline over the same distance three months earlier.
Backing Selby for narrow victories is a tried a tested strategy. This combo on 6-4 and 6-5 pays around 3.711/4.
Akani can run Williams close
Sunny Akani nearly pulled off an upset for the ages in the 2017 renewal when losing 6-5 to Ronnie in the last-16, and the Thai proved it was no fluke in 2018. Apparently dedicated to practice, he has become a formidable match player.
That is a critical skill against Mark Williams, whose ringcraft wins so many matches in the early rounds. As last season, the Welshman isn't in great form and lost to a similar standard of opponent in Dominic Dale last week.
2 unit double
Finally a double on matches from the outside tables, paying 4.03/1. Jordan Brown is another excellent matchplayer, progressing fast, and is preferred to Jamie Jones. Tian Pengfei could be the worst type of tactical opponent for Jack Lisowski so take him to win five frames via the handicap.
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Back Alexander Ursenbacher 2u @ 9.28/1
Place order to lay 6u @ 3.02/1
2 unit double