Wuxi Classic Snooker Tips: One player to back from each quarter

16Jun 2013


Rejoice, snooker fans! The first ranking event of the season is live on Eurosport from Monday and that means an opportunity for Paul Krishnamurty to employ the trading plan that has yielded five of the last eight winners, including Ronnie O'Sullivan at the World Championship.

Back Scott Donaldson 0.5u @ 500.0

Historically, the name of the game at this time of the year has been to back outsiders and players who've demonstrated they're in good form. Most of the big-names have tended to be under-prepared, enabling hungrier players to capitalise. Last year for instance, the first two events were won by Ricky Walden and Barry Hawkins, without which either man may not have earned a top-16 place and a seeding at the World Championship, where they went on to contest the semi-final. In short, while the Wuxi Classic may have a 'second division' feel, it has career-changing potential.

Walden's victory here 12 months ago makes him the number one seed and means this top section is notably weaker than the norm. In fact, the whole field is weaker than usual at this stage because under the new rankings system, seeded players had to start their campaign in the last-128 round. Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy and Matthew Stevens are already out, while Ronnie O'Sullivan, Stephen Maguire and Mark Davis opted out of this trip to China.

Consequently the men to beat in this section are Walden, the declining Mark Williams, Graeme Dott and early-season specialist Stuart Bingham. All of that quartet are extremely beatable so, in keeping with history, I'm going for a huge outsider. In truth, I'm backing two but for the purposes of this column, Scott Donaldson is the headline pick at a whopping 500.0. Because Jimmy Robertson is a 250.0 chance, it is perfectly affordable to stay within the constraints of the trading system to back both at combined odds around 170.0.

Donaldson has started the season superbly, reaching the semi-finals of last week's Asian Tour event, days after reaching the quarter-finals in Bulgaria. Donaldson has already won 13 matches out of 16 this season, including against highly capable types Tom Ford and Michael White. Likewise, Robertson's run to the Bulgaria quarter- finals catches the eye. There was certainly no shame in losing 4-2 there to his infinitely superior namesake, Neil, following a trio of victories against much higher ranked players Anthony McGill, Michael Holt and Jack Lisowski. On those recent numbers, either man would have to be considered a lively outsider against even the best players in this section.

Back Neil Robertson 10u @ 6.4

At the opposite end of the market, there is plenty of mileage in backing the favourite. Robertson is only a point or so bigger when all the big guns are in opposition and nobody in his half of the draw could be described that way. World Championship runner-up Barry Hawkins would be the main danger, but without detracting from his achievement at the Crucible, he's still at least one level below the Melbourne Machine. Robbo hardly ever loses to non-elite players and showed he's still in good form by reaching the final in Bulgaria.

Back John Higgins 5u @ 12.5

Again, you can't argue with recent form. Doubtless spurred by a poor showing at the World Championship, Higgins started the season in style by winning the Bulgaria Open, defeating Robertson and O'Sullivan along the way. This draw isn't much easier, with potential matches against Judd Trump and Ding Junhui before the semi-finals in what is definitely the strongest section on paper.

I can't have Trump in single figures, especially after last week's defeat to David Gilbert, as the World Championship is his only good tournament this year. As for Ding, he has a poor recent record in China and a potentially tough last-32 match against this weekend's Asian Tour winner Joe Perry.

Back Mark Allen 6u @ 11.0

Finally another very weak section enables the obligatory bet on the man I reiterate is below the market radar. Apart from Mark Allen, only Ali Carter has top-class pedigree and, given both men's effectiveness against lesser opposition, they must be expected to meet at the quarter-final stage.

Allen's defeat to Mark King at Sheffield must have really hurt considering the superb form he'd shown previously, especially given how his half of the draw subsequently opened up. I expect him to bounce back quickly and finish the season above his current sixth place in the world rankings.


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Keywords: Wuxi Classic Snooker, Scott Donaldson, Neil Robertson

Source: Betfair

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