World Grand Prix Snooker: One player to back from each quarter

Snooker player Jack Lisowski
Could Jack Lisowski derail his mate's title defence?

Fresh off victory in Germany, Judd Trump defends his World Grand Prix title, which we'll be covering live on Betfair throughout. Here's Paul Krishnamurty's preview...

"I would much rather make Robbo the main bet given an easier section. He is in absolutely superb form."

Back Neil Robertson 6u @ 6.411/2

Ronnie O'Sullivan is back from his short, self-imposed break and kicks off the World Grand Prix at Cheltenham Racecourse tonight in a fascinating clash against David Gilbert.

If the last couple of weeks are any sort of guide, though, the Rocket will need to be at his very best to beat his two closest rivals in the betting. As I write, Judd Trump has just touched off Neil Robertson for the German Masters title, ending the Aussie's winning streak that landed the previous tournament.

Back Jack Lisowski 0.75u e/w @ 50/1

Trump is the defending champion here too and there's nothing wrong with outright odds of 5.04/1 besides the usual caveat - winning back-to-back titles is extremely rare. Robbo - whose snooker has been near flawless over the past fortnight - just demonstrated that.

Plus in this elite event, restricted to the top-32 in the one year rankings, there are no easy games. This quarter, for example, also includes Masters champ Stuart Bingham, John Higgins, Kyren Wilson and Jack Lisowski. Never mind arguably the best two young Chinese stars - Yan Bingtao and Zhao Xintong.

Lisowski capable of surprising Trump

That looks a minefield and it is worth noting that last year's renewal wasn't all that predictable besides the eventual winner. The first two rounds are best-of-seven.

One player who won't be scared of playing Trump is his old mucker Lisowski. Whilst perennially frustrating, he reached the Scottish Open final before Christmas. He lost to Kyren in a poor match at the Masters but has generally fared well against him and is preferred in a section where stakes should be kept small.

Bang-in-form Robbo must be kept onside

Back Neil Robertson 6u @ 6.411/2

I would much rather make Robbo the main bet given an easier section. He is in absolutely superb form and losing a final to Trump is obviously forgiveable.

Ding Junhui is the chief threat but faces Scott Donaldson first up, having lost consecutive matches to the Scot over the past fortnight. Mark Williams and Barry Hawkins are happily opposed on recent form.

Allen overdue a title

Back Mark Allen 2u e/w @ 18/1

Ronnie simply can't be trusted on his comeback, or on this season's form. Or against Gilbert, who was superb at the Masters before running into his career jinx opponent in the semis.

If Ronnie goes early, this half of the draw opens right up. Mark Selby and Mark Allen are the other two big-guns in this quarter - I'll go for the latter at bigger odds. He's due a title.

Un-Nooh tastily priced in weak section

Back Thepchaiya Un Nooh 0.75u e/w @ 45/1

Finally the weak quarter. Shaun Murphy is certainly the one to beat on this season's form. Stephen Maguire has also been in decent nick, while Gary Wilson and Zhou Yuelong increasingly look ready for a breakthrough title.

I don't think Thepchaiya Un Nooh should fear any of them. Although fundamentally erratic, he's won before and played well enough in Austria before running into the imperious Robertson.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty


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