Robertson in UK snooker run-in with dogged Dott in last 16
Defending UK snooker champion Neil Robertson, a best price 5/1 with tournament sponsors Coral to retain his crown, has won eight of his dozen past meetings with Glasgow native Graeme Dott, but they have one win apiece in head-to-heads at this event.
‘The Thunder from Down Under’ defeated ‘the Pocket Dynamo’ at this stage of the competition (last 16) back in 2011. Robertson ran out a 6-3 winner at York’s Barbican Centre that day, and is a 19/4 chance to record a repeat scoreline.
Former Crucible king Dott bested the Aussie here a decade ago in the round of 32, and needed a final frame decider to advance. A tasty 10/3 price says their latest encounter goes the distance.
With the likes of former winners Ding Junhui, Mark Selby and Mark Williams making shock early exits in York, nothing can be taken for granted. The Thunder is an odds-on 4/11 favourite for this match, but it’s his gritty Glaswegian opponent that has made more century breaks en route.
Dott, better known for his dogged play, sunk knocks of 120 and 127 in his last 32 match with Robert Milkins, while Robertson’s best effort against Peter Ebdon was 108. The Pocket Dynamo is still a 2/1 outsider, but has already relished underdog status.
Three-time UK champion John Higgins should make plain sailing through his round of 16 encounter with fellow Scottish potter Anthony McGill. ‘The Wizard of Wishaw’ is odds-on 1/3 favourite to defeat the youngster, who knocked out Nigel Bond to set up this Celtic clash.
McGill upset Higgins (16/1 to win the tournament) at an Asian tour event last year, so the latter will not underestimate his opponent. Another shock loss is a 9/4 chance but, having put Matthew Stevens out, there should be no reason why Higgins won’t progress again.
Eight and ninth seeds Ricky Walden and Stuart Bingham battle it out with nothing to choose between them. This pair have won two previous head-to-heads apiece and that is why they are rated equal 10/11 odds-on chances to take a spot in the quarter-finals.
Finally, Blackpool teenager James Cahill comes hot off knocking out Chinese sensation Ding by facing Mark Davis. The former is Stephen Hendry’s nephew and that magic has clearly rubbed off on this fresh-faced youngster.
Cahill is a 15/8 shot to send 19th seed Davis home, but the seasoned tour pro is odds-on 2/5 favourite to end this upstart’s sensational run.