The final session of the second round saw Judd Trump defy an Anthony McGill comeback to progress and Jack Lisowski record the best win of his career, eliminating pre-tournament favourite Neil Robertson in a deciding frame. The draw is scheduled for these two old friends to meet in the final, as they have several times previously.
Lisowski needs another career high
Before thinking seriously about that prospect, both face tough quarter-final hurdles. That was the first time in seven attempts that Lisowski has beaten Robertson and demonstrates a mark of his progress. Beating John Higgins at the Crucible would perhaps be more significant, given that he lost 13-1 when they met in the last-16 four years ago.
Instinctively, Lisowski seems like the dream opponent for a player like Higgins. Too attacking and often careless. A potter and scorer, but not a tactician, and therefore vulnerable to arguably the best of all-time in that department. However he has won two of their six previous meetings so that theory is unproven.
Nevertheless, I expect Higgins to take charge of this game at some stage and he may very well dominate from the outset. For the first leg of the daily double, back him to win 13-9 or better via the -3.5 Frame Handicap market and also 13-6, 13-7 and 13-8 in a correct score combo.
Daily Double (£3 stake pays (£14.85)
Back John Higgins to win the -3.5 Frame Handicap @ 2.2
Back Over 22.5 Frames in Trump v Bingham @ 2.25
The head-to-head between Trump and Stuart Bingham is closer than you might think - 9-7, and 81-78 in frames, to the former world number one who dominated snooker from 2018-2021. I'm not at all convinced Trump's game right now resembles anything like that golden period.
Trump is very beatable right now
The game against McGill was close and could easily have gone the other way, despite the Scot playing below his best for the first two sessions. Trump's game looks as it has throughout the season - 70%, at best. He's still good enough to win tournaments, as he has twice, but is not an attractive or reliable betting proposition at short odds-on.
Bingham seems bound to bring his game as usual here. The 2015 champion has had a poor season too but is once again coming good at this venue, taking out another Crucible specialist, Kyren Wilson yesterday. As the head-to-head frame scores suggest, I'm confident he'll keep this close. 1.84/5 about him winning ten frames, via the +3.5 Frame Handicap is the bet.
Another side bet I like here is 3/1 about Bingham making three centuries. Last year he hit this target in every round from the last-48 through to the semis.
Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty