Here is my prediction for the semi-final line-up at the 888.com World Championship:

Ding Junhui v Mark Williams
Shaun Murphy v Neil Robertson

After this I predict Ding will beat Robertson 18-10 in the final.

Before anyone suggests therapy, I should point out that I used to have a very good record in tipping the winner of the world title. This was mainly because I always used to tip Stephen Hendry.

I also called it for Mark Williams and Ronnie O’Sullivan the years they won it and, in 2003, got all four semi-finalists right.

In the last three years, though, I don’t think I’ve got any of them right. The reason is quite simple: there are so few tournaments that form is irrelevant.

OK, so Murphy, Mark Selby and Stephen Maguire have been the three form players of the season but by the time the Crucible comes round none of them will have played for three weeks (apart from Selby’s two days in the Championship League).

The last three winners – Murphy, Graeme Dott and John Higgins – all had poor seasons heading to Sheffield before finding form over the 17 days.

Ding is my tip to win, which is strange, really, when you consider he has the hardest first round draw in Marco Fu.

He could lose this but if he doesn’t I fancy him to go all the way.

Williams has, of course, been off the boil of late but let’s not forget that its only five years since he won the biggest cheque in snooker history - £270,000 – in winning the title for a second time (incidentally, I’ve no idea what the winner gets this year as the prize money appears to be a state secret).

With Ronnie O’Sullivan’s tendency this season to struggle against the more methodical players, I think Williams has a great chance to take him out in the second round.

Murphy is Mr. Consistency and although he’s in a tough quarter that includes Selby and Peter Ebdon, I reckon he’ll come through it.

Robertson has done nothing of note all season but is the sort of player who could suddenly spring into life with devastating effect.

Maguire is favourite in this quarter but has been laid up this last week with flu and unable to practice – hardly ideal preparation for the game’s biggest event.

How many of my four tips will actually reach the semis?

Probably none, but who’d bet on snooker these days? It’s never been so unpredictable.

That’s why watching the championship will be so enjoyable – anything can happen.

Please post your own predictions below.


Anonymous said...

Hello David;

I have a sneaking feeling that Marco Fu will account for Ding Jun Hui in the opening round and repeat his victory of the Wembley Masters and progress to the semi-finals. I think we tend to forget only 2 years ago he was within a frame of a World Final.

In the semi-finals I think he'll face Ronnie O'Sullivan, a man he has an excellent record against - including victory here in 2003 and the 2007 Grand Prix Final.

The second semi-final I'm going for the best of friends (!) Shaun Murphy and Stephen Maguire.

The final I'm going for Marco Fu and Stephen Maguire, with Hong Kong's finest taking the trophy back to the Far East.

David, you have predicted Ding - should Marco spoil your party how far do you think he'll go?

Whether I'm right or your right or we are both wrong - the one thing for certain is that is going to be a Crucible Cracker of a Championship!


Dave H said...

Fu could certainly win it but he does suffer from inconsistency of performance and that might see him come up short even if he beats Ding

Anonymous said...

Good point David, as well as his excellent win in Aberdeen and extended run at Telford this season he has thrown in some poor performmances over the yaers - most recently against Li Yuan, the Chinese wild card, at the recent China Open.


Anonymous said...

I'll go for

Ryan Day v Mark Williams
Peter Ebdon v Graeme Dott

Anonymous said...

i'd go for these 4:

fu v o'sullivan
murphy v maguire

with murphy winning the world against fu

Anonymous said...

Hendry v Doherty
Ebdon v Robertson

with Doherty winning his second world title against Robertson 18-14
He could be pushed in the quarter-finals by Mark Williams.

John H

Anonymous said...


Vadim, Ukrain

Anonymous said...

I'll hazard a guess at:

Fu v ROS
Murphy v Maguire (AGAIN)

With Fu or Maguire winning from there hopefully.

Anonymous said...

Judge v Chuang
Harold v Davis

Chuang v Davis

S. Davis

Anonymous said...

great choice :))
- all of you're choices have won a turnament this season
- they all are in great form
if this isn't a joke i hope u didn't arrange anything :))

Anonymous said...

Here's my semi-final tip, having looked at the draw, so difficult to predict though:

Fu v Doherty
Maguire v Murphy

Then Maguire to beat Fu 18-12 in the final


Anonymous said...

I'd like the semis to be:
Hendry/Swail and Carter/Davis
but think they will be:
Allen/Ronnie and Murphy/Perry

I take Murphy to win it all(but hope I'm wrong!)

sportthecraig said...

Semi-final lineup,
i'll go for:

Joe Davis v Stephen Hendry
Ray Reardon v Jimmy White

Hendry and White to make the final, with Hendry narrowly winning 18-17 as White misses a vital black!

Despite the long odds of this occuring, imagine if it did and I didn't have money on it.


Shaun said...

It's just so, so hard to predict this tournament nowadays. I doubt anyone could've tipped Dott to win in '06, or Murphy in '05; and few backed Ebdon to triumph in '02 either. Moreover, I felt that two years ago, Dott essentially won because he was the last man standing: O'Sullivan and Ebdon had been in much more fluent form, but Ronnie beat himself (as so often happens), and Ebdon was out on his feet by the final. This isn't to take anything away from Dott - his victory was an astounding achievement, possibly the most remarkable I've ever seen in snooker - but it shows how so many factors simply can't be guessed at beforehand.

I haven't correctly tipped the two finalists since 2001, or the champion since 1999 - but with no confidence at all, will go for semis of:

Ding v O'Sullivan
Murphy v Maguire

With Murphy beating Ding in the final to claim his second world title. But I agree with David that Ding's first round match is extremely dangerous (I think Fu is, with Ronnie, one of the two most unpredictable players in the game, capable of diamond brilliance as well as occasional incompetence), and am in any case concerned that whoever emerges from the Murphy/Maguire half of the draw could be too drained come the final.

Incidentally, why do so many seem to have a problem with Murphy? It reminds me a bit of Ebdon's unpopularity: so he's different, and has an unusual degree of self-confidence. So what?

Dave H said...

Murphy is different to most other players but it would be boring if everyone were the same

Anonymous said...

I echo what Shaun said above. 2 of snookers great modern rivalries to be re staged: Murphy v Maguire for the umpteenth time in the last few seasons (but never gets boring!), after Murphy edges a classic QF against Selby.

I've always thought that once Ding gets to a best of 25, 3 session match, his opponent better watch out. I think under those conditions, he will settle into a rhythm, and could potentially run amok. I take him to edge Fu, then it's look out Allen or Hendry. Momentum will carry him to a semi with....Ronnie, who won't dish out a repeat of Dings Masters hammering this time.

Murphy-Ding final?