Each of the four quarter-finals of this year’s Betfred.com World Championship features a former winner plus a player capable of capturing the title for the first time.

It’s a stellar line-up but the man to beat remains Ronnie O’Sullivan.

He knew he’d have to play well to repel the challenge of an in-form Mark Williams and so he did, dashing off three centuries in the final session during a brilliant display.

O’Sullivan is in the newspapers this morning for his conduct in his post-match TV interview but all that really matters is how he is playing – and he is playing really well.

Mark Selby, of course, outlasted him in their Wembley Masters final earlier this season and eased away from Stephen Hendry impressively yesterday.

Selby lost an epic quarter-final to John Higgins at the Crucible 12 months ago and could well end up embroiled in another. He has the game to frustrate O’Sullivan but will only win if he also scores heavily.

Graeme Dott is playing his best snooker since winning the China Open three years ago and arguably better than when he won the world title in 2006.

His quarter-final opponent, Mark Allen, has been impressive so far but is yet to be put under pressure and has not been punished when his do-or-die shots have failed to go in.

Shaun Murphy conjured up an aggressive last three frames to see off Ding Junhui last night, proving experience of winning in Sheffield can make all the difference.

Ali Carter suffered a scare against Joe Perry but raised his game at the denouement and will be tough to beat. Perhaps Murphy’s track record at the Crucible will prove key again.

Nobody tipped Steve Davis to beat John Higgins and few would tip him to beat Neil Robertson, but who is to say the grand old man of snooker can’t cause another shock?

It’s unlikely – in the first round last year Robertson beat him 10-2 – but Davis is playing well and if he can score from the chances he creates from his tactical game then he could make it close.

Regardless, it should be celebrated that he is in the quarter-finals at all. At 52, he is the oldest player to appear in the last eight since he beat 53 year-old Eddie Charlton 13-5 in 1983.

Davis’s continued presence in the draw adds an extra element to what is already a fascinating set of quarter-finals.



I agree that O'Sullivan is the man to beat, but I wouldn't get too carried away by his match against Williams.

There are a few players that O'Sullivan always raises his game for, most notably Williams and Hendry.

We also know that theres a certain type of player that he struggles against, methodical steady low risk styles like Ebdon, Dott and Selby.

This is not a technical or skill issue, theres no doubt that the rocket is the most skillful player to ever grace the crucible.

Its a mental issue, and the only doubt about the result in the Selby game, is whether O'Sullivan can keep himself focused for three sessions or whether he will find the inspiration that produced that wonderful finish against Williams.

Selby knows that if they both play to their best that he will be going home, so dont be surprised to see him play at a more pedestrian pace than the fast flowing breakmaking style employed in his first two matches.

Felt sorry for Ding last night.
He simply wasn't allowed play, and Murphy is turning into one tough scrapper.

Hope Robbo doesn't hammer Davis. Would be nice to see that match reach the third session regardless of who wins.

I notice the pockets are still very receptive.

Williams, with his knack of slow rolling balls exploited this well, with some balls hitting the cushion several inches before the pocket and still dropping.

This is ok in other tournaments where big breaks and amazing pots are required for entertainment value, but not at the WC where the entertainment value lies in the struggle and tension of getting through.

Its annoying to see a player missing a pressure pot only for the ball to drop in off the jaw.

Id say Moondan is having a nervous breakdown.

Anonymous said...

No change there then with Ron reaching the papers for his idiotic behaviour then.....

He played very well and could win it, but for his antics alone id rather see a decent person winning it.

anyone except Davis has a v good chance to

jamie brannon said...

O'Sullivan's performance was majestic yesterday, gave me a real thrill. He could have been less prickly with Walker, but he wasn't offensive. Still think Selby will beat him though.

Worrying times for Stephen Maguire in more ways than one. Couldn't believe he was trailing Dott 11-1 at one point. Dott is defintely playing better than 2006. I don't want to sound disrespectful - but his standard of play in 2006 was not comparable to most if not all title winners I have seen.

The second round has lit the blue touch paper for this tournament. I think the quarters look tasty though. Tipping Robbo, Selby, Murphy and Allen. Allen is not overrated. He is already closing in on 100 centuries, which is not bad for someone who turned pro in 2005. Added to that he has the winner's look about him in his body language. It is hard to explain it, but I believe he has it.

Anonymous said...

I agree O'Sullivan is the man to beat, but i'd rather see a decent human being win the tourney which is why i'll be rooting for Selby all the way (Hope Walker gets to interview O'Sullivan again when he loses)

Greg P said...

The second round lit the blue touch paper? So Davis-King wasn't enough to get you excited? Or even Hendry-Zhang? This year's first round blew away last year's!

Anonymous said...

here we go...

different strokes for different folks, but GET ON WITH IT, Selby!

Anonymous said...

I reckon they might give Davis the Masters' wildcard - would be great!

Anonymous said...

If Ronnie reaches the semis this year he will not have played a morning session.This means he has more time between some sessions than other players. Fair or unfair Dave?

Anonymous said...


(my names dave too)

Anonymous said...

I hope Selby gets through. Tremendous talent and great personality. I have to admit I'm fed up with Ronnie O'sullivans' general unapproacable attitude. Snooker's giving him a fantastic lifestyle and the sport and media continue to bend over backwards to accomodate him regardless of what he says or does. He complains about lack of tournaments and sponsership yet as the sports marquee player he seems to fail to realise that his actions have a direct affect on how snooker is percieved. So good luck to Selby, Allen, Robertson and all the hugely gifted players that don't mind playing with a smile on their faces from time to time.

CHRISK5 said...

Steve Davis must have been thinking the last few days......

''IF only I had Martin Gould & a more realistic route to the semis!''

Anonymous said...

i agree 7:21

were talking about a top snooker player, adored by millions (as much because of his good looks and fast play as well as his very good play)

i wonder if the bbc showed the youtube video of him asking, more than once, for people in the interviewing crowd in the far east if they wanted to perform oral sex on him, how many of those fans that love him would think him a vulgar little man.

the casual fan that i know that didnt know about that interview were totally disgusted.

i cant imagine sir alex ferguson or another top football manager or player saying that to people in the crowd at an interview, and if they did, thered be a massive uproar.

but because its ronnie it gets swept under the ever bulging carpet.

hes a disgrace to himself with some of the behaviour over the years.

YES, he is a fantastic player, and NO, not because he plays fast / has good looks.

Anonymous said...

Tables looked harder on Tuesday David - were they reclothed or something? Both O'Sullivan and Selby looked to struggle a bit

jamie brannon said...

Bit silly to claim that footballers wouldn't do that when they are hardly respected for their moral probity.

I think yesterday's session between Selby and O'Sullivan was patchy to say the least. I think the needle between the two may have made them more fearful of losing than is normal.

Clive Everton has not been heard since Friday - last year he was around till the semis. It is poor treatment of the doyenne of snooker commentators.

I asked this last year and you said it was secret, but I just don't get where EuroSport are commentating from - it can't be in the arena.

jamie brannon said...

I notice on Twitter you said Selby and O'Sullivan was fascinating and in many ways it was despite the low quality. I think the needle brings that fascinatioon partly as it was an edgy watch which is good viewing.

kimball said...

Hi Dave,

listening to you and Joe J.

I feel Selby is chalking up for a warning.
His comments about touching ball
was very unasked for.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave, the word from Sheffield is Jason Ferguson may be replacing Barry hearn as chairman ,you heard anything about it dave ?

Dave H said...

Don't see why Selby should be warned.

I'm told Ferguson has been asked to be chairman. Seems like a strange decision to pick a former chairman.

Janie Watkins said...

It's been nice to see Jason here, after not seeing him for a few years, but I think he'd need his brain examining if he stepped back into the bear pit again after the really rough treatment he was given when he was in the job before.

I met the new Board Member today who seems like a very nice guy and it was interesting to talk to him about his experiences of handling the disciplinary/betting issues with the darts.

Anonymous said...

Whoever becomes chairman can they get rid of the walking disaster Rob Walker!

Anonymous said...

It wont matter who the chairman is, if Barry Hearn gets his way the chairman will dance to his tune.

Anonymous said...

The way Ronnie O'Sullivan spoke to the reff Leo Skullion this afternoon was totally unacceptable. One of the things that sets snooker apart from other sports is the sportsmanship and respect shown to the officials. Once again it appears to have been swept under the carpet with the commentators and bbc pundits totally ignoring it. When is someone in this sport going to have the guts to stand up and be critical of O'Sullivan? Yes he's a great talent but there's a healthy number of outstanding players in the sport now. Snooker really needs to shake off the stigma that it needs Ronnie at all costs. His antics are actually becoming more damaging to the sport than the good he does for it.

Anonymous said...

im silly?

dont think so Jamie

i wont however call you names back

i will say my point was that footballers dont ask folk at interviews for oral sex

they may not be saints in their private lifes

that was not my point and nor did i say they were

my point was that if everyone in joe public knew ron did that, there would be uproar, and rightly so

CHRISK5 said...

Ronnie deserved to go out.

Saying the referee needed glasses was a slur quite similar to todays big headliner in politics.

Never in a million years would Ronnie have said that to a bigger Jan Verhaas or the lady Michealla Tabb. (touching ball or not)

I have been a neutral as far as Ronnie's concerned.

But,his lousy antics & lack of professionalism is at a greater scale now than at anytime in his career.

I think the last 2 years or so - Ronnie has realised that the boat has passed - in terms of him ever being percieved as great as Hendry or Davis were.

The good thing is,the competition is so fierce at the top of snooker now - At least Ronnie's misdemeanors do get capitalised on!

Anonymous said...

Off topic Davis v Taylor final frame 12pm tomorrow (29th) bbc red button..

CHRISK5 said...

Who's in it to win it ?

First-time Champion - Robertson,
Selby or Carter

Shockwinner - Graeme Dott

Also,Carter deserved to beat Murphy in QF - Simply,because Ali C has had a more consistent & productive season than Murphy.

CHRISK5 said...

Well done to Ali Carter.

He fulfilled my prophecy of him being a 'pinkball' contender -rather than a 'blueball' outsider!


Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Dear Dave
How are you! Thanks for the posts lad. Your comment about Jason Ferguson for chairman is very interesting Dave.
There is a story here concerning a “Break-away” group led by Ray Reardon, Joe Johnson Willie Thorn, Jason and others.
It was front page news Dave in (I Think) the August 02 Snooker Scene. Clive gave them front page haranguing and photographs for starting a coaching school without his permission.

In those days Clive “The voice of Snooker” made the decisions as the WPBSA was very busy organising the very generous Tobacco money.
I think “The brave Rex” was included in Clive’s “Photo album”

The amazing point is that some time later Clive allowed his friend Terry Griffiths to start the Matchroom coaching school in Wales without a vote by members.

I can’t remember Dave how Ray’s school was wrong and Terry’s got Clive’s blessing. Maybe your TV colleague Joe Johnson will explain; and why he threatened to go to “High Court”. It is all there in the back editions of Snooker Scene. Mr hey you
PS My magazines and snooker books are lost in my garage some where.DM

Betty Logan said...

The form guide says it will be Robertson or Carter, they're both in the top 4 provisionally and are in a different class to the other two players at the moment. I don't see much hope for Selby or Dott, but that said Dott has always punched above his weight here, so a Dott win probably would be a "shock" from a betting odds point of view, but perhaps not that surprising from a career perspective. Both the semis are evenly matched though, in playing styles as well as form!

Anonymous said...

I'm very worried that Ronnie is choosing a star of the future - hope he's not teaching them how to behave as well.

Anonymous said...

well done selby

no bad apples left in the comp now

i dont mind who wins

Anonymous said...

janie, what rough treatmment did jason get and who was dishing it out?


Betty Logan;

Form, as you put it, goes out the window in snooker.

How you could rate Carter above Selby is totally beyond me.

You must be picking your selections on who has the best bum or the prettiest smile or something.

Winning the World Championship is about producing your best game under the most extreme pressure.

You can win as many best of 9 matches in minor rankers as you want but it still doesn't prepare you for the Crucible.

The most obvious result is for Selby and Robertson to contest a close final, although Im hoping Dott will beat the hoover.

Regarding the provisional rankings, they are the most unreliable guide to form of all.

Due to the absurd once a year ranking system employed by world snooker, players have been seeded inappropriately for years now, which means that on many occasions three or four of the current best 6 or 8 have been knocking each other out in the early rounds, while 3 or 4 journeymen end up in the same section, producing a quarter or semi finalist.

This means the journeyman gets more points than the in form loser, and the anomaly is perpetuated further.

Until we have a rolling system we will not have the best players properly ranked and players like Jamie Cope and Liang Wenbo will have to keep playing top players in the early rounds.

Betty Logan said...

Carter is a fantastic player, his technique is much better than Selby's. They are both a bit light in the break-building department, Carter breaks down a lot and Selby tends to play negatively resulting in lots of 30 and 40 breaks. Selby is better under pressure though and a light year ahead tactically, so overall is a better 'performer' than Carter, but it's Carter who has been getting the results this season. He's been solid all the way through, and no-one could have competed in the Welsh Open final given the standard produced by John Higgins. Both Robertson and Carter have spent more time at the business end this season than Dott and Selby, which is why I consider them the form players. Form sometimes doesn't carry over to the Crucible, but it seems to have done in their cases. I think Robbo is mentally stronger than Carter and as the commentary has pointed out his break-building has been second to none this season, so if the heaviest scorer starts producing it at the Crucible he's going to take some stopping.

As for Dott and Selby, I fancy Dott simply because he looks the better player. He looks more fluent, and tactically he can compete with Selby shot for shot, and both are good pressure players. The argument against Dott here is that he's been kept out of the winner's enclosure for quite a while, but then again this is someone who won the WC having never won anything before! The case for Dott is that if one player needs to make a frame winning break to win the match I think Dott is more likely to produce it at the moment, and I think it will run close.

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Dear Dave
How are you! That’s quite a post by Betty Logan on 3/36; it sounds very impressive and knowledgeable in the art of “Playing Technique”. Betty sadly left much unsaid Dave to what could have been a constructive coaching lesson for other blog members.

Betty’s observation that A was better than B on different branches of technique was maybe correct but just an “Observation” without the reasons or causes being explained.
The coach that says to the proud father that your son is “Moving” on the shot hasn’t given a word of advice until he explains clearly the reasons and cures for the “Movement”.

The reason A was better than B has to have a reason Betty not because he missed a pot. In theory a bad split on a “Forced” collision is the only “Acceptable” reason for not continuing a break in advance snooker. Mr hey you

PS Just “Keep your head still” is not an answer to moving on the shot Betty. Give it some thought lass the answer is really easy. DM