The World Championship draw has opened right up for qualifiers Dominic Dale and Michael Wasley following their first round upsets. Paul Krishnamurty rates the youngster good value for their match tonight...
"The pressure could tell on both and, just because he's more experienced, we shouldn't assume Dale will cope any better with it."
Virtually unknown prior to this World Championship, Michael Wasley has already pulled off one of the great Crucible upsets against Ding Junhui in the first round and, with the draw opening up, the 24 year-old is capable of going a lot further. While it is a fair reflection of their wider form that Dominic Dale starts favourite for tonight's last-16 match-up, Wasley could hardly have picked a less intimidating opponent for this stage.
With the greatest of respect to Dale, who has enjoyed a solid season, he is the definition of a snooker journeyman. This is his first appearance in the last-16 of this event since 2000 and he didn't have to beat much to get here. Mark Davis was already one of the weaker seeds and played poorly. This is a huge opportunity for both players to achieve a career best and improve their rankings, with a fairly winnable quarter-final to come next. The pressure could tell on both and, just because he's more experienced, we shouldn't assume Dale will cope any better with it.
Of course there is a fear that Wasley will be a different player with expectations on his shoulders. He seemed a no-hoper against Ding and took a carefree, attacking mindset into the match. His performance after the restart, to win the final two frames, will live long in the memory. Now he knows he can really go places in the tournament, he may struggle to cope with the occasion but equally Wasley could draw inspiration Michael White and Jamie Jones' recent runs to the Crucible quarter-finals. They too had needed to win a stack of matches just to get here. For my money, this is a 50/50 call, which makes Wasley the value at 2.47/5.
Back Michael Wasley 3u @ 2.47/5