Tournament favourite Ronnie O'Sullivan is back in action on Friday, looking for a fifth comfortable win over Ali Carter at the Crucible. Paul Krishnamurty expects business as usual...
"There is no reason to assume that what must be snooker's greatest hoodoo will be broken. Discounting the Championship League, Ronnie won all 14 of their previous matches and their form this season has been worlds apart."
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Friday's Crucible action involves a quartet of second round matches, two of which have already started. Mark Allen restarts 5-3 ahead of Joe Perry, while Barry Hawkins and Lyu Haotian will play their second session in the afternoon. Both were previewed yesterday, along with a bet on Allen to win the tournament at 20.019/1.
No trouble for Ronnie against his favourite opponent
Spare a thought for Ali Carter. In reaching the last-16 for the 12th time, he is heading towards Crucible legend status, yet his career could have been so different if only he could have avoided his nemesis. Ronnie has beaten him four times here and none of them were close - 18-11 and 18-8 in the 2008 and 2012 finals, 13-8 and 13-7 at this stage in 2013 and 2005.
There is no reason to assume that what must be snooker's greatest hoodoo will be broken. Discounting the Championship League, Ronnie won all 14 of their previous matches and their form this season has been worlds apart. As those previous results imply, winning by 13-7 or better to beat the 5.5 Frame Handicap is not such a big ask for O'Sullivan.
Wilson to prove too strong for Jones
Jamie Jones' superb run continues and, having beaten Shaun Murphy at the Crucible for a second time, the Welshman must have high hopes that history will continue to repeat itself. Following that previous upset in 2012, Jones won again before playing superbly in a 13-11 defeat to Ali Carter in the quarter-finals.
He is certainly playing well enough but, for my money, a three-session match against this particular opponent will find him out. The aptly nicknamed 'Warrior' Wilson is made for longer matches in the majors and progressing fast. A quarter-finalist in the last two years here, he's reached three finals this season including the Masters, and only narrowly lost to Selby in the semis of the China Open last time.
Wilson looked focused and in-form when thrashing Matthew Stevens first up. It may ultimately prove that he comes up short in the latter stages again but I reckon it will take an elite player to beat him. That said, 1.422/5 is not a pre-match price to get excited about. Instead, this quartet of correct scores ranging from 13-7 to 13-10 pays just above 6/4.