2016 World Snooker Championship semis: Selby faces Fu, Ding to defeat McManus
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | April 27, 2016
2016 World Snooker Championship
- World Snooker Championship semi-finals
- Thursday, April 28th to Saturday, April 30th
- First break-off: 13:00 BST
- Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
- Live on the BBC and Eurosport
Semi showdowns feature Far East v best of British
Just four men remain in the hunt to win the 2016 World Snooker Championship, with Coral making Ding Junhui a 5/4 outright favourite ahead of top ranked player Mark Selby (13/8), fellow oriental potter Marco Fu (5/1) and surprise semi-finalist Alan McManus (12/1).
The draw at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre pairs 2014 winner Selby with Fu, while Ding must plot the defeat of McManus. An all-Asian final remains a possibility, which would reflect the increasing popularity of this sport in the Far East.
Read on to see some of the top tips from these three-day, best of 33 frames fixtures with the two winners advancing to meet in the two-day final held on Sunday, May 1st and Monday 2nd.
Ding must get his Angles right against McManus
Renaissance is an overused word in sport, but McManus making his first Crucible semi-final since 1993 is certainly a worthy example.
Eliminating increasingly high-profile opposition, starting with 2004 UK champion Stephen Maguire, two-time World Snooker Championship finalist Ali Carter and then four-time winner John Higgins is evidence age is no barrier to green baize success.
McManus (7/2 match outsider), nicknamed Angles, now meets fellow qualifier Ding (strong odds-on 1/5 favourite to make the final). It’s better value to take Junhui at evens in the handicap market, which is set at 6.5 frames, and he would need to win at worst 17-10.
The Chinese Sensation, having eliminated pre-tournament second-favourite Judd Trump in the last 16, made the easiest work of the four quarter-finals, crushing two-time former Crucible king Mark Williams 13-3, earning victory with a session to spare.
Playing another wily veteran potter in McManus, Ding will probably not get a better chance to win the World Snooker Championship than this year, and is the subject of an enhanced 1/2 match special to triumph and make the highest break of this encounter.
Head-to-head history is also on his side, with Junhui winning all but one of four meetings with McManus, including a 10-5 Crucible victory in the last 32 three years ago.
Ding is a 7/4 chance to lead 3-1 after the first mini-session of four frames, and held such an advantage when beating Angles earlier this season at the Shanghai Masters.
Short frame format wins bode well for Jester
Selby would normally be among the most high-profile sportspeople from hometown Leicester at this time of year, but the city’s football team has stolen much of his thunder.
The Jester already has two wins over Fu in 2016, and holds 11 victories to the Hong Kong cueman’s four from 15 previous baize battles. Selby starts as odd-son 1/2 favourite to beat him again.
Fu, an 8/5 outsider to make the final, seemed to be cruising into the Crucible semis, holding a 9-1 lead over Barry Hawkins, but the conqueror of Ronnie O’Sullivan fought back and almost took their quarters clash to the distance.
World number one Selby’s progress has been pretty serene to this stage beating unseeded opposition Robert Milkins, Sam Baird and Kyren Wilson.
Four of the last five meeting between the Jester from Leicester and Fu have only had margins of victory of a single or couple of frames, and that means there is every chance it will go to a decider. Backing that is a 15/2 chance here.