Michael White and Ronnie O’Sullivan can book tickets to Crucible semis
The Crucible waters are proving treacherous for the big names in the seventy sixth edition of the World Snooker Championships, with Neil Robertson and Mark Selby – ranked first and second in the world – have already exiting the tournament in consecutive rounds. Clashes between Ding Junhui and Barry Hawkins and Shaun Murphy and Judd Trump are already under way, but in the quarter finals due off later, Crucible debutant Michael White is fancied to record another upset against Ricky Walden at 11/8.
Having kept up his 100 per cent major tournament record against Ali Carter in round two, Ronnie O’Sullivan faces his former practice partner Stuart Bingham in the quarters and despite match odds of 2/7 “The Rocket” is far from guaranteed passage against “Ball-run” who has a previous long-match victory against O’Sullivan – at the 2010 UK Championship – on his resume.
Nonetheless Bingham struggled to fend off a Mark Davis playing well below his best in the previous round and an improving O’Sullivan – having put five frames between himself and Carter in the previous round – can score on Coral’s -4.5 frame handicap at 11/10.
Ricky Walden’s clash with Michael White offers the dream of semi final place to two men who are are already in uncharted waters as far as this competition is concerned.
Both cuemen have experienced one battle and one stroll in reaching the quarters, but with Crucible debutant White had the grace of an easy 13-3 victory against Dechawat Poomjaeng in the previous round, whereas Walden very nearly allowed Rob Milkins back into their tie despite entering the final session in possession of a 10-6 advantage – the fresher man he can be backed on the +1.5 frames handicap at 6/5 with Coral.
Poomjaeng’s eccentric table-side antics succeeded in getting inside sixth seed Stephen Maguire’s head in round one and it can be seen as a testament to the 21-year-old’s mental strength that he was unfazed. White knocked in a brace of centuries in that one sided affair and the 5/4 about their being over 2.5 breaks of 100 plus in his quarter final tie could well cop if Walden gets involved with some three figure break-making of his own.