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2016 World Snooker Championship day two: Rocket ignites Crucible campaign against Gilbert

Lee Gormley | April 16, 2016

2016 World Snooker Championship

  • World Snooker Championship last 32
  • Sunday, April 17th
  • First break-off: 10:00 BST
  • Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
  • Live on BBC Two

Walden and Williams collide in Sunday opener

Dafabet Masters 2016 - Day Three - Alexandra Palace

After an exciting start to the 2016 World Snooker Championship, day two looks set to throw up plenty more drama at the Crucible, with Ronnie O’Sullivan beginning his latest title quest in Sheffield, among other interesting matches.

Chester’s Ricky Walden reached the semi-finals during the 2013 World Championship but, after a second and first round exit since that impressive run, the Walnut will look to make a bright start and is 11/1 with Coral to overcome opening opponent Robbie Williams 10-9.

The last time this potting pair met it was Walden that edged out Williams in a final frame decider, so another close encounter could take place at the Crucible in this early Sunday meeting, though the latter cueist is 12/5 for a shock victory.

Ahead of their third ever competitive match-up, the duo have prevailed on one occasions apiece, with Walden’s success coming in a UK Championship clash in 2014 in a match that saw no player go more than one frame ahead. With such a tight former encounter, you can back another deciding frame to occur at 11/2.

O’Sullivan starts campaign against Gilbert

Dafabet Masters 2016 - Day Five - Alexandra Palace

All eyes will be cast towards O’Sullivan’s first outing at this year’s worlds on Sunday afternoon, as the five-time Crucible king breaks off for his latest attempts at further Sheffield success.

The Rocket meets David Gilbert in his opening match-up, a player who he has beaten in both their only two previous meetings, while conceding just a single frame, and O’Sullivan is 8/1 to hand his opponent a 10-1 thrashing here.

Derby potter Gilbert had previously never been further than the last 16 of a ranking event but rallied to an International Championship final appearance last year, eventually losing out to John Higgins, and he is 10/1 to cause an almighty shock.

Although, the Rocket will be aiming to take off again at this year’s event after storming to impressive Welsh Open and Masters victories already this season, making the now 40-year-old 5/1 to overcome Gilbert 10-4.

Former world champs Williams and Dott meet

Dafabet Masters 2016 - Day Three - Alexandra Palace

Day two’s evening session will see two former world champions collide in a tasty early meeting, as two-time Crucible victor Mark Williams battles with 2006 winner Graeme Dott.

It’s Welshman Williams, who prevailed in Yorkshire in both 2000 and 2003, that holds the more encouraging head-to-head record, with nine victories to Scotsman Dott’s four, though the latter is 23/20 to progress.

The pair have collided at both the UK and Masters previously, with Williams winning on both occasions, and he is 17/2 to succeed again with a 10-6 result in their maiden World Championship meeting, while Dott is 10/1 to prevail in a final frame shootout (10-9).

Welshman White battles Baird

Snooker - Dafabet World Snooker Championships - Day Three - The Crucible

Another Welshman enters the fray on Sunday as Michael White, the youngest player currently in the top 16, gets his cue ready to face Sam Baird, who is making only his second ever outing at the Crucible this year.

White reached the Australian Goldfields Open and Welsh Open quarter-finals this season and is odds-on 4/9 to overcome his inexperienced rival, while Baird 7/4 to prevail, having beaten the Welshman for the first time earlier this year in Poland.

Before that defeat, Neath-born White had rallied to three successive wins against Baird, conceding no more than two frames in those comfortable victories, making the 24-year-old 18/1 for a 10-2 triumph this time around.

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Coral’s top tip: Back Graeme Dott to overcome Mark Williams at 23/20 in their Sunday encounter.

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