The quarter finals of the snooker world championships are now upon us and two games dominate the draw.
Stephen Hendry continues his quest for an eighth title when he clashes with fellow Scot Stephen Maguire, while Ronnie O’Sullivan squares off with Neil Robertson, where the winner will certainly be favourite to add to their current Crucible hauls.
Elsewhere, Ali Carter’s reward for beating Judd Trump in a final-frame decider is a meeting with Crucible debutant Jamie Jones, while the final last-eight showdown is an all Welsh affair between Matthew Stevens and Ryan Day.
Stephen Hendry to beat Stephen Maguire @ 6/4
Hendry has dropped just eight frames in the opening two rounds in Sheffield and will be full of confidence after his success over defending champion John Higgins in the last round.
Maguire’s attacking game should play to Hendry’s strengths if he does get left in among the balls and assuming Hendry is in contention after the first session, he has strong claims.
Matthew Stevens v Ryan Day: 5 centuries in the match @ 13/2
Of all of the quarter finals this looks the most likely to go to the wire, with both players not the best at closing out matches.
If any, Stevens looks the most likely to edge it as he bids to make a third career Crucible final, but the better money may be on the number of centuries that will be scored.
Day scored three against Cao Yupeng in the last round, while Stevens fired in the same number against Barry Hawkins and there is every chance that the big breaks will be flying in again in the quarter final.
Ronnie O’Sullivan to beat Neil Robertson by 5-6 frames @ 9/2
O’Sullivan is not only playing in the quarter finals for the fifth tournament in succession, but has triumphed in three of his last four encounters with Robertson.
The Rocket was dominant against Mark Williams, especially in the middle sessions, and could well repeat this against Robertson to claim a convincing advantage.
Ali Carter (-3.5 frames) to beat Jamie Jones @ 5/6
Jones has enjoyed a memorable tournament on his first Crucible visit, but there were signs in the final session against Andrew Higginson that his standards were beginning to slip.
Carter may not be so forgiving if presented with a chance in among the balls and if enjoying more luck would have likely beaten Judd Trump by more than one frame.
The 4/1 that Carter leads 6-2 after the first session also offers some appeal.