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Many will expect this match to be tight, but we reckon its going to be one way traffic for The Rocket. Sometimes it’s hard to put your hand up and admit you were wrong, but we were completely wrong on O’Sullivan’s approach to this tournament. He had said that he’d given up practicing and then we learnt from the Eurosport commentators that he’d practiced six hours a day for this tournament.
O’Sullivan was cueing very well in his victory over an in-form Ding Junhui in the last round and if in similar form he’ll make short work of Higgins in this best of 11 frames clash. Higgins was negative in some shot selections when he fell over the line against Mark Allen on Wednesday night, as Allen failed to punish him. We expect there’ll be no such slip ups by O’Sullivan here.
These two have met 21 times at the quarter-final stage in tournaments with O’Sullivan leading 11-10 in the stats. However, the last three head-to-heads were best of 11 frames and O’Sullivan has won all three comfortably 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. Curiously, just like today, all three of those matches were quarter-finals in big tournaments.
If both players show up in the same form and mindset as their first round matches, there’s only going to be one winner here. O’Sullivan (-1.5) frames on the handicap looks a solid play. We also like a history repeater scoreline of 6-3 for O’Sullivan at a tasty price.
Snooker supporters are sort of lucky there were no ticket sales for this match. Many fans would have bought them in the hope of seeing Selby v Robertson. But, Maguire put Selby under his safety thumb early on and was clinical in keeping him there.
Yan Bingtao beat a tired looking Neil Robertson, who looked just was miles off his best. Anyway, this is the match we’re stuck with, albeit a touch relieved we didn’t buy a ticket.
Bingtao is a very capable player. He doesn’t suffer from nerves and is sure to arrive here in top form. He’s never beaten Maguire in three previous meetings though. We’re going to take the stats to hold up and Maguire to advance. It should be tight enough though and 6-4 looks a tempter in the correct score market.
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