So a great night at the Crucible has left us with eight men left standing in the Betfred.com World Championship.

I'm sure you all saw the drama unfold last night so let's press on with the quarter-finals, every one of which has the potential to be a classic...

Dott once again demonstrated his fearlessness under pressure in putting away Ali Carter while Trump played his entertaining attacking game to great effect against Martin Gould.

Trump has the advantage of being young and therefore having no Crucible war wounds, no mental scars that will cause doubts to creep in.

He is enjoying himself - palpably - and will doubtless continue in the same vein today.

But Dott is a Crucible form horse; a former champion whose game suits these long matches where psychology can be just as important as form.

That experience may well prove to be the vital ingredient over their three sessions.

"If you keep playing like that you'll win it," said Stephen Hendry to Mark Selby after he was beaten 13-4 by the Leicester Jester.

Selby certainly played superbly, scoring heavily and making the most of virtually every chance. His advantage over Ding is that the Chinese expended considerable mental energy last night in fighting back against Stuart Bingham.

But Ding has cleared a little Crucible hurdle by reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in his career and, while he may not relax as such, he has at least proved he can handle the pressure in Sheffield.

Selby has not won a major title this season but is clearly cueing beautifully. The real key to this match will be how Ding responds to his late night drama. He needs to punish any Selby mistakes.

It seems an age since these two won their respective second round matches. Williams has coasted through so far while Allen has had to survive two deciders.

Williams remains a joy to watch when in full flow. He makes the game look ridiculously easy, as if it's no effort, but of course the effort has been put in throughout the season and he has played some great stuff all year.

Allen is a fighter but he surely can't afford to go too far behind to Williams. The Northern Irishman needs to play his best stuff from the start, try and treat each session as a separate match. His intensity and will to win are among his best assets and he has to use them.

Williams needs to be put under pressure, otherwise he will surely continue his canter towards the final.

What is there left to say about these two? They first played at the Crucible 15 years ago, met in the final ten years ago and are still each capable of brilliance.

For Higgins, the second round was a chore. He got weighed down by Rory McLeod but it'll be a different match against O'Sullivan, who stuttered a little before putting away Shaun Murphy.

O'Sullivan's mood in Sheffield has been good and his discipline has been strong. He has treated the game with the respect it deserves and got the reward.

There are few players he respects as much as Higgins and the feeling is mutual. What a match this could be.

In close, O'Sullivan looks as good as ever but his long game isn't quite firing on all cylinders and this may be a factor.

Higgins's all round game is terrific and he clearly has the stomach for the fight but he hasn't yet played the sort of world beating snooker that suggests he is going to steamroller anyone.

Higgins has won their last couple of meetings and, on form this season, should be the slight favourite but when players of this quality clash the formbook goes out of the window. It's the sort of match where you could see them both raising their games.


Anonymous said...

Does anyone else get the impression that if Ding beats Selby then the trophy should be his?

I say this because he was'nt particularly playing well but he was getting a lot of luck in coming back to beat Bingham.

I've seen it time and time again at the crucible where a player that seems to have luck on his side throughout the 1st week either wins it or gets to the final.

Anonymous said...

i didnt think ding was lucky to win at all and i dont feel your point is correct at all 1.10pm

Anonymous said...

What an entertaining line up we'd have if Higgins and Selby got turned over. It would surely be the best yet. No snails.

Anonymous said...

what an entertaining championship we will have if Higgins sends Ronnie home to his sad life.

Anonymous said...

bitter and twisted @4.48; How, pray tell, can the elimination of the greatest snooker prodigy ever, make the championship more interesting? Secondly, a millionaires lifestyle in a nice Essex pad is hardly sad, although a loser like you would not let the truth get in the way of a jealous attack on Ronnie.

Betty Logan said...

Has there ever been such a strong quarter-final line-up? The form player, last year's runner-up, a player who has just set a new Crucible record, the Masters Champion, the official number 1 and the provisional number 1, a genius and Mark Allen. I think Mark Allen is probably the only player who doesn't stand a realistic chance of winning this, and when Mark Allen is as bad as the line-up gets then you can't really complain.

The commentators seemed to indicate that they think the Ronnie/Higgins tie is the true final, and the winner should go on to lift the trophy. I think there is a good chance it could be, but if Williams is waiting in the semis for the winner (as I would expect on current form) then I think that could turn out to be the true final. Williams has actually looked the strongest player in the bottom half so far, but hasn't really come up against much resistance. The bookies have Selby down as the favourite, but that's a fallacy due to Higgins/Ronnie/Williams all having to overcome each other, and I would expect whoever comes through the bottom half to go favourite in the final.

Hope Ding and Trump come through the top quarters, that would be an entertaining semi as a opposed to the grindfest Selby and Dott would serve up, plus we'd be guaranteed a fast and free-flowing final.


Hi David. The quater-finals. What a line-up, and what great snooker. Another great days play today.

Higgins .v. O'Sullivan - A great session. A bit of everything. 2 Century breaks, 1 from each player, Great tactics, great breaks-building. 2-o to Higgins, 2 all, 4-2 to higgins. O'sullivan did great to level at 4 all overnight. what a conclusion in store.

Selby .v. Ding - After Selby's superb performance against Hendry, in the last 16, He started with a century against Ding, to lead 1-0. Ding did well to lead 5-2, before Selby won the 8th. 5-3 to Ding overnight. all to blay for tomorrow.

Dott .v. Trump - A sensational performance from trump. The only frame Dott won in the first session, He needed a snooker, before doing so. 7-1 to trump after session 1, with great potting and break-building, as the foundation.

In session 2, Trump went 9-1 ahead, before the next four frames were shared. Now 11-3.

Dott made a superb 120 break, on a maximum 147, but missed a tough yellow. He went on to take the last frame aswell to leave him with a chance. You never know, but with 21-year-old trump leading 11-5 overnight, in my view, he is favourite to reach the semi-final.

Williams .v. Allen - After 6 frames Williams was to lead 5-1 after a mixture of Willams's great play,Williams steals, and a bit of Allen's bad luck. Allen responded well, with back-to-back century breaks, both from Allen, Williams was to lead 5-3, going into session two.

Williams lead 8-4 at the interval of the second session. it was not a true reflecyions of play as both had chances, in my view, no disrespect meant to either player. Williams leads 11-5 over night and,in my view, Allen has a chance, but Williams is favourite to reach the semi-final.

Well done to all players in today's sessions.


Hi David, as back-to-back century breaks, both from Allen, in the last 2 frames of session 1, reduced williams's lead. from 5-1, to 5-3, going into the second session, back-to-back century breaks, both from Williams, in the last two frames of session 2, gave him, his 11-5 overnight lead.

Anonymous said...

Well said Betty.

How cool was Williams today? Great entertainment. Seeing him steal the 1st 2 frames against allen was special. there's never been such a cool headed player to play that standard and be hard to equal it. brilliant.

Good to see both ronnie and john scrap it out a bit. Especially ronnie to show proper temperament.

Bring it on!

Anonymous said...

NO need for that 4.48 it's long gone

Anonymous said...

youre deluded and talk crap about the assaulter.
i am content with my life.