We’re almost a week into the World Snooker Championship and a number of big names have already exited the tournament before the second-round stage.
Five-time ranking event winner this season Ding Junhui is by far the biggest shock exit, as he was defeated by Crucible debutant Michael Wasley in a dramatic final frame decider.
Four-time World Champion John Higgins was also eliminated by fellow Scot Alan McManus with Stephen Maguire and Stuart Bingham both tripping at the first hurdle.
Second Round Betting Tips
With Ding’s exit, the draw has again opened up nicely for defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, with the highest ranked player he’ll have to face before the final being world number four Barry Hawkins.
This evening he plays Joe Perry in the second round and is big 1/9 favourite with Boylesports. Perry, whose last victory over the Rocket came back in 2008 at the UK Championship, is best-priced at 8/1 with Bet 365.
The first session of this match starts at 7pm tonight and can be seen live on BBC Red Button and online at bbc.co.uk/snooker. The winner is first to 13 frames for this and all last 16 matches.
One of the last 16 matches starting on Friday is a repeat of one of last year’s semi-finals at Barry Hawkins faces Ricky Walden. Hawkins was the winner that time as he overturned a 12-8 deficit to eventually win the match 17-14.
Walden won their last meeting 6-5 at the Masters in January but he’s at longer odds to win this one after stumbling over the line in his first round match against Crucible debutant Kyren Wilson. The Chester cueman is best priced at 8/13 with Totesport with Ladbrokes offering 3/2 on a Hawkins win.
On Friday afternoon it’s a clash between two of the oldest players at this World Championship as 44-year-old Ken Doherty faces 43-year-old Alan McManus.
Judd Trump, who reached the final here in 2011, overcame Tom Ford in the opening round on Wednesday, begins his last 16 match against Welshman Ryan Day on Saturday afternoon.
After a dip in form, the 34-year-old is looking back at close to his best which was underlined by his 10-9 win over Stephen Maguire in the first round.
After beating the player of the season in Ding Junhui earlier this week, Gloucester potter Michael Wasley now faces the charismatic Dominic Dale for a space in the quarter-finals. Who’s to say he won’t beat another experienced player after producing a mature performance to beat Ding.
Dale, who won his first match at the Crucible for 14 years by beating Mark Davis on Thursday, is 3/4 favourite with Bwin.
BET OF THE DAY: Wasley win at 13/10 with William Hill.
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