Parrott’s Picks: Higgins class can trump all challengers

The last first round matches include four-time winner John Higgins making his bow, and John Parrott thinks he can go far once again this year...


The final trio of first round matches break off on Wednesday, with two big names, John Higgins and Judd Trump, landed in the same quarter of the draw.

Trump’s scoring makes him a threat to the best, but our man John Parrott thinks the experience of the Scot could be crucial if they clash.

Cue up a few winners over on

John Higgins v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh

“Another former champ enters the competition on Wednesday. John Higgins has played Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh a few times and John has generally had the upper hand. The Thai likes to get on with the game, he’s a very good potter, but his game tends to be very open with that, which is the worst way you can play against John. I expect Higgins to come through in this one.

“If he does, he’ll have either Stuart Bingham or Jamie Lisowski to play in the next round, and I don’t see either of them stopping him. He’d then likely face Judd Trump in the quarters, and I can still see John Higgins, over that length of match, having too much for Judd, so I fancy John Higgins to win his quarter too.”

Judd Trump v Chris Wakelin

“Chris Wakelin is a bit of an unknown quantity, other than that he came through against the Chinese player Tian Pengfei 10-1 in qualifying. He’s a 9/2 shot in this, which probably tells you all you need to know, and Judd is 1/7.

“Surely, at some point, Judd Trump is going to play his proper game at the Crucible and go through the tournament. I don’t know if that will happen this year, but he should win this match.”

Anthony McGill v Ryan Day

“This is one of the toughest matches in the first round to pick. McGill is a 6/5 punt and Day is 4/6.

“Ryan has improved, he’s got a bit more confidence and won a few tournaments this year, which was the only thing missing from his CV because he’s always been a really good player. McGill, though, can pose problems for anyone, so this is a really tough match to call and I expect it to be very close.”

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* All odds correct at time of posting. 


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