O’Sullivan slayer Stevens now faces Fu in Welsh Open
Matthew Stevens cannot savour his memorable win over tournament favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Welsh Open for too long. He’s back in action already in front of a compatriot crowd in Cardiff on Thursday evening, and faces 16/1 title chance Marco Fu in the last 16.
‘The Welsh Dragon’ boasts a narrow 8-6 head-to-head advantage over Hong Kong cueman Fu, but is an 11/8 outsider to win their fourth round fixture. Punters should be aware Fu has victories in the last two meetings, and beat Stevens at the Welsh Open in 2004.
Shorter frame formats, like this one which is the best of seven, have produced close run matches between these two in the past, so backing this latest encounter between Stevens and Fu to go to a decider at 21/10 is well worth considering.
In other last 16 action, Neil Robertson, who is now joint-favourite to win the Welsh Open at 7/2 with world number one Mark Selby, faces Gary Wilson. The Geordie potter has faced ‘the Thunder from Down Under’ before, but got battered 4-1 at PTC Tour event in 2011.
With Robertson strongly odds-on at 1/6 to win the match, take the 12/5 price for a repeat scoreline.
Stephen Maguire, the 10/1 tournament fourth-favourite, faces fellow Scottish potter Alan McManus, twice a beaten finalist at this event, and boasts two previous Welsh Open wins over the man nicknamed ‘Angles’.
Glasgow native Maguire, who was runner-up in 2011, is odds-on at 4/9 for another victory, but McManus bested him in their last meeting at the 2014 Shanghai Masters. Punters should note it’s ‘on-fire’ Maguire that boasts a dominant 9-3 head-to-head record over Angles, though.
Finally, the last 16 line-up is completed by Stuart Bingham’s battle with Ricky Walden. These two are side-by-side in the world ranking’s top 10, so it will be a tough one to call.
‘Ball run’ Bingham battered ‘the Walnut’ 6-0 at this stage of the UK Championship back in December, and that explains why he is the odds-on favourite at 8/13 to win their latest encounter.