Mark Williams takes on Liu Chuang in a World Snooker Championship first round clash this afternoon, with the Welshman comfortable 1/7 favourite to advance.
Williams has been mightily unlucky not to have achieved a major success this season, having reached the quarter-finals stage in at least three rankings events, and exiting a beaten finalist in the Shanghai Masters.
His opponent Chuang doesn’t seem to have the necessary credentials to pose a great threat to Williams, making his first appearance at the Sheffield tournament since 2008, and he will struggle greatly to justify 9/2 odds for success here.
A more attractive bet looks to be Williams to win giving up a 3.5 frame lead, at 8/13 odds.
However, a recent Twitter outburst of the Welshman threatens to overshadow Williams’ performance today, as he prepares to take the floor of a venue he describes as ‘overhyped,’ claiming he would instead prefer to play at Pontins.
The 37-year-old has escaped punishment from World Snooker Association chairman Barry Hearn, who is known to love the Crucible, though only an emphatic victory here may spare him scrutiny from the press.
Elsewhere at the Crucible, Ali Carter is 8/13 favourite to beat Mark Davis, though he could struggle against a competitor enjoying his highest ever world ranking slot in 18th place.
Davis is a 6/5 shot to progress to the second round, and after an impressive string of showings succeeded his 2010 Shanghai Masters last eight efforts, he is in good shape to overcome the 2008 World Snooker Championship finalist here.
Carter has already been eliminated in the first round of rankings tournaments on two occasions this season, and having admitted he is seriously considering retirement amidst his dwindling form, it could be a terrific chance for Davis to capitalise against the Essex cueman.