Ronnie O’Sullivan became the first player to reach the quarter final of the 2012 Snooker Masters by beating Ding Junhui on Sunday, with the two players involved in an entertaining clash which saw the Rocket clinch the final two frames for victory.
We can never be sure which Ronnie will turn up for any snooker tournament, although the signs are that the Londoner will take some stopping over the next few days, with the bookmakers installing him as favourite to clinch the title.
O’Sullivan is a 7/2 chance (Ladbrokes – £50 free bets) to scoop the £150,000 winners’ prize, although his 14th seeding means that a last eight clash with Judd Trump looks likely and the latter is in great form after recently booking his place in the Winners Group of the Championship League Snooker.
We might expect the youngster to beat Stuart Bingham in his last 16 game and odds of 6/1 (bet365 – £200 free betting) are currently on offer that last year’s World Snooker Championship finalist goes all the way in this competition.
Despite the Masters being a non-ranking snooker event, it involves the world’s best players and that includes John Higgins who faces Matthew Stevens for a place in the quarter final. The Scot excels over the longer frame format and is a 6/1 poke to claim this title at Alexandra Palace.
Mark Selby has never won a World Championship title, although the Leicester potter can’t be taken lightly providing he has the right mental approach and the same applies to 2010 world champion Neil Robertson, who is pitted against the in-form Mark Allen for a place in the last eight.
Realistically, there is little between any of the players at the Ally Pally, with Mark Williams facing Stephen Maguire in what should be an entertaining first round clash. Shaun Murphy and Martin Gould should also be a close encounter, with the latter continuing to improve and he could rate as a lively each-way bet for the World Championships.
Ali Carter faces Graeme Dott for the chance to play the winner of the Higgins v Stevens match, with Stephen Lee hoping to upset the odds by beating Selby and giving himself a very real chance of making the last four.
The final will be played next Sunday and will be best of 19 frames.