Masters Snooker: O’Sullivan to rocket past Walden at Ally Pally

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The first round of the action at Alexandra Palace may not have been concluded, but we have already seen a 147 and the World Champion knocked out in this year’s Masters.

As four more contenders step out into the arena to showcase their opening round credentials, we are looking to secure some profit on the baize.

There’s a well-known face in this tournament and a player on a comeback from a health-induced break selected to triumph.

And if our cuesmiths deliver on the table, you could be picking up some nice returns in this 9/2 double.

Ronnie O’Sullivan -3.5 frames v Ricky Walden @ 6/5

Few players have a better record in this tournament than Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The Rocket has won four titles, and been a beaten finalist a further five times in the last 19 years, and clearly revels in this shorter format.

En route to the final 12 months ago, he only dropped three frames in his first three matches, and included a 6-0 whitewash against opponent here Ricky Walden.

He could be in for another big win here again, with Walden not in the strongest of form.

The Stamina Man has only progressed further than the second round in one of his last four tournaments, and was on the end of a 6-0 hiding to Stuart Bingham in the UK Championship last month.

He could struggle against the legend that is O’Sullivan.

Ali Carter to beat Barry Hawkins @ 6/4

A semi-final appearance at the Wuxi Classic has been one of a few highlights of a quiet 2014/15 so far for Barry Hawkins.

While he has brushed aside the lesser players, he has, on the whole, struggled when it has come to mixing it with the best in the business.

And at the top of his game, Ali Carter is one of the best.

The Captain returned from his second bout of cancer treatment in the best possible way, winning the non-ranking General Cup back in December, and has come on leaps and bounds since.

He hinted that he was back to somewhere near his prime in the Championship League this month, picking up victories against Judd Trump, Stuart Bingham and Robert Milkins along the way.

Carter’s record against Hawkins is very impressive, coming out on top in nine of their 10 previous meetings, so should be backed to record a mini upset in London.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

Fancy our picks to deliver on the baize? Use your free £25 bet and pot over £110 if our players are on cue!

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.