Higgins and Hendry clash prelude to giant killer meeting
An all-Scottish clash is the pick of the World Snooker Championship second round ties, as defending champion John Higgins aims to justify a 1/3 price to beat compatriot Stephen Hendry.
As two players with such emphatic pedigree, it is highly surprising that these two have never met at the Crucible in the past, though a pair who have 11 world titles between them look certain to serve up an entertaining match in Sheffield.
Backers of Higgins, pre-tournament second-favourite, will have been far from encouraged by the 36-year-old’s first round showing, in which he scraped past tournament minnow Liang Wenbo 10-9 by winning a deciding frame.
Hendry meanwhile, should see plenty of interest from punters at 12/5 to beat Higgins, after the 43-year-old looked back to his best in a 10-4 success over Stuart Bingham, which included a 147 maximum break for the Scotsman.
The seven-time world champion is refusing to discount the threat of Higgins, despite a stumbling first round outing, and the pure class of either player should make for one of the games of the tournament across the next two days.
Elsewhere, Ryan Day comes off the back of a surprise success over Ding Junhui as an 8/15 chance to overcome another Chinese player, Cao Yupeng, to reach the quarter-final.
Day’s late surge in his clash with Junhui saw him through, dispelling lingering doubts that stemmed from indifferent pre-tournament form, but in Yupeng he faces no easy task.
The 21-year-old Chinese starlet also completed an upset victory to reach this round, besting Mark Allen in a controversial tie, after which Allen accused the youngster of unsportsmanlike behaviour.
Yupeng did in fact lead from the off in that tie though, and wasn’t fazed as the latter stages of the game came to fruition.
Two century breaks showed his penchant for the occasion too, and Yupeng will see much support to beat Day at 6/4.