2016 World Snooker Championship last 16: Rocket to down Hawk, Higgins to crack Walnut
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | April 22, 2016
2016 World Snooker Championship
- World Snooker Championship last 16
- Saturday, April 23rd
- First break-off: 10:00 BST
- Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
- Live on the BBC and Eurosport
Multiple Crucible champs start second round fixtures
The middle Saturday of the 2016 World Snooker Championship will see five-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins, who has one Crucible crown less than the Rocket, kick off their last 16 matches with respective opposition Barry Hawkins and Ricky Walden.
Cut by Coral from 7/4 into 11/8, O’Sullivan has always been favourite to capture the title yet again, while Higgins looks a well-treated 9/1 dark horse to go all the way for a fifth time.
These contests shouldn’t pose either Rocket Ronnie or the Wizard of Wishaw any problems on paper, yet nothing can be taken for granted with so many seeds already out in Sheffield.
History heavily against Hawk
Hawkins, a former Crucible finalist, has only beaten O’Sullivan once in history, and that way back at the Scottish Open in 2002. The Rocket’s 10-1 Masters final hammering of the Hawk will still be fresh in the latter’s mind from January.
Based on that and the fact O’Sullivan has eliminated Hawkins from the World Championship in two of the last three years, it’s no wonder Rocket Ronnie starts as an overwhelming odds-on 1/7 match favourite. There’s little hope for the Hawk and he’s a massive 9/2 outsider.
With the handicap market set at 5.5 frames and it being the first to 13, all signs point to O’Sullivan wrapping this one up easily and 5/6 has a much more attractive ring to it than his price on an outright victory here.
Wizard won’t find Walnut tough to crack
Higgins only holds a career head-to-head of 4-3 up on Walden and, although, the two players are seeded eighth and ninth respectively at this year’s World Snooker Championship, the latter made far harder work of his last 32 battle with Robbie Williams than the former, who dispensed with Ryan Day 10-3.
Making his sixth Crucible appearance, 7/4 match outsider Walden has only ever got past this current round once when he made the semis in 2013. Higgins delighted while destroying Day, and is thus a worthy odds-on 4/9 favourite.
A better wager to make on the Wizard is for him to hold a two-frame advantage over the Walnut after 16 have been played. Higgins holds tasty odds of 4/1 to lead 9-7 after two sessions.
He’s also a safer 13/10 to win the first mini-session of four frames, and Scottish potter Higgins should fly out of the blocks based on how he played last time.
You’ll find day-by-day coverage of the 2016 World Snooker Championship over on our dedicated section.
Coral’s top tip: Higgins to win the first mini-session is a terrific 13/10 price against an opponent who rarely makes much of an impression at the Crucible.