The last two quarter-final spots are up for grabs at the Masters and taking to the Alexandra Palace table on Tuesday are two former winners of the event, though only one of those men is expected to progress.
Mark Allen to beat John Higgins @ 8/13
As alluded to above, one of the former champions is set to fall at the first hurdle and that looks most likely to be Higgins, a winner in 1998 and 2005.
The time-gap since that last triumph gives plenty of clues about The Wizard of Wishaw’s loss of form in recent seasons, where the 15th seed has only won a single ranking event since 2010.
Although the Scot has secured a quarter-final berth in each of the last three years at Ally Pally, that’s where the adventure has ended the last two, and the identity of his round-of-16 opponent doesn’t bode well.
Allen has thwarted him in their last four encounters and dumped Higgins out 6-3 at this stage in their only prior Masters clash in 2010.
The sixth seed has also been in highly-promising form in recent months, reaching two ranking-tournament finals this in the autumn of 2014.
Ding Junhui to beat Joe Perry (-2.5 frames) @ 11/10
Englishman and 14th seed Perry must have been cursing his luck when he drew the 2011 Masters winner out of the hat.
This will be the pair’s 10th career meeting, of which Ding has triumphed on eight previous occasions and four consecutively which, crucially, have all occurred inside the last 12 months.
Two of those four matches have seen the Chinese number one triumph by three clear frames, as was the case in their only other Masters meeting a decade ago.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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