NEIL ROBERTSON v MARK ALLEN
Robertson could easily be out but staged a great rearguard action to come from 5-3 down to edge Ding Junhui on the opening afternoon.
The Aussie, a big match player if ever there was one, showed plenty of grit to steal Sunday’s headlines but Allen’s performance suggests he can make this a classic.
Allen was relieved to have won his first match in a BBC tournament in 13 months when he beat Mark Davis 6-2. He played well, too, starting with 136 in the first frame and has been relaxed around the venue ever since.
It’s one apiece in the Masters between them and it’s hard to see either running away with it. I tipped Allen for the title so had better stick with him.
PREDICTION: Allen 6-4
JOHN HIGGINS v SHAUN MURPHY
Of the players left, Higgins is the real dangerman. He once again proved his supreme matchplay skills by shrugging off losing two black balls frames he should have won against Ali Carter to beat him 6-3.
Murphy repelled a late rally from Ricky Walden. Afterwards he admitted he was having a few problems closing matches out.
Murphy has a good record against Higgins but will need to start well tonight. Otherwise, Higgins has to be favourite.
PREDICTION: Higgins 6-3