BERLIN, GERMANY – With the exception of the four times World Champion John Higgins, who crashed out of the event five frames to three against the Leeds based veteran Peter Lines, all the other favourites in the last 64 round won through as expected to take their place in the last 32 of the event at the Tempodrom arena.
Two of the winners from this morning, Ding Junhui and Mark Allen, will both surely be delighted not only with the victories gained but also their next opponents as they have significant psychological advantages over them.
Junhui can be backed at 1/3 (bet £3 to make £1 profit) with William Hill, Coral, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes to overcome Marcus Campbell and Allen is a best industry price of 2/7 (bet £7 to make £2 profit) with Marathon, Betdaq and Ladbrokes to see off the challenge of Dominic Dale. While all the prices are on the short side, a closer inspection of the information available definitely makes them look hard to oppose.
China’s Ding is arguably the most relieved man in Germany at the moment after producing a stunning display to see of the challenge of his fellow countryman Liang Wendo. The 2011 Masters champion trailed two frames to nil at the start but played flawless snooker in the remainder of the match, with breaks of 61, 86, 114, 72 and 134 he won five of the last seven frames to win 5-4. The twice former UK champion will be delighted after scraping through with such a high quality performance and will be more than confident of getting past Dumbarton’s Campbell on Thursday afternoon as he has never lost to the Glaswegian in any of their previous nine career meetings.
The pair first clashed in the last 80 of the 2004 World Championship qualifying when Ding was a fledgling professional and yet he over came his far more experienced challenger 10-4. This has clearly set the precedent as the following eight meetings have all been relatively comfortable. On the three occasions the matches have gone to a deciding frame shootout Ding has rubbed salt into the wound by wining all three final frames with one scoring visit. In the last 32 of the 2008 Welsh Open Ding developed a break of 65 off his first opportunity to close the match out, at the same stage in the 2011 Welsh Open he cleverly crafted out a break of 103 to consign Campbell to more heartache and to add insult to injury in the 2012 Championship League Ding coolly slotted home a break of 109 to win the contest 3-2.
While Ding has to be confident of reaching the last 16; at the same time the “Dumbarton Destroyer” must be apprehensive. When Wenbo led Ding 4-3 this morning Campbell would have surely been praying for a Wenbo victory and avoid Ding who has obviously become a headache for him over the last decade. At first glance the 1/3 available on Ding does look on the short side but with the statistics firmly in his favor it also looks like a sound investment.
Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen is a man in great form at the moment; during his defeat of Matlock’s Nigel Bond earlier today he compiled runs of 51, 65, 64, 67 and 55 on his way to a 5-2 victory. This is not a shock to the system as Allen’s form since the start of the New Year has been excellent, just last week in the Championship League at Crondon Park Golf Club Allen won all six of his group matches with the loss of just three frames, he then defeated Martin Gould in the semi final before edging out Glasgow’s Stephen Maguire 3-2 in the final. Allen was once again impressive last weekend at the shootout as he battled his way through to the final, in the trickiest of formats, before falling at the last hurdle, 104-0 to Martin Gould.
Tomorrow morning Antrim’s Allen goes head to head against the twice ranking event winner Dominic Dale for the seventh time in their respective careers, and like Ding v Campbell; Allen has yet to taste defeat against the Welshman and has prevailed in all of their six previous matches. Allen’s first triumph over Dale was in the last 32 of the Northern Ireland Trophy played in Belfast, in front of a sizeable home crowd Allen belied his years to roll in a break of 85 in the deciding frame to win 5-4. Their has been two other matches that have gone to a final frame finish, both in the Championship League, and Dale has scored just 12 points combined from both while Allen has hit breaks of 41, 60 and 61 in winning them easily. At first glance Allen does not appear to be that tempting to back at 2/7 but he is in superb form and couple this with his already impressive record against Dale and it becomes a very enticing proposition.