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O’Sullivan now favourite

Frank Monkhouse | 26 April 2017

Ronnie moves through to lead the market

World champion Mark Selby fired a warning shot to his rivals, telling them he hasn’t yet peaked, despite playing some wonderful snooker in the early part of this year’s World Championship at the Crucible.

The 33-year-old from Leicester recorded a straight-forward 13-6 win over Xaio Guodong in the second round, a simple effort that came hot on the heels of an earlier 10-2 vs upstart Fergal O’Brien the stage before.

World number one Mark Selby is among those fancied to go all the way at Ally Pally.

Selby warming up nicely

Without ever getting out of first gear, Selby looked class, going through the motions like a man with the utmost confidence in his ability. He took pride in his early showings too, telling fans that you don’t want to be playing your best snooker in the opening exchanges, but instead sharpening up for when things get interesting.

Coral traders have certainly seen plenty they like from Selby so far, and have him chalked up on the betting board at 11/4. He now turns his attentions to a meeting with Marco Fu on Tuesday, with 2/5 the call on him continuing his progress at the expense of Cue-Man-Fu, a 15/8 poke to cause an upset.

Can the Rocket prevail once again in London?

Rocket fires past Murphy

All eyes were on Ronnie O’Sullivan earlier this week as he put his war of words with the snooker chiefs and opponent Shaun Murphy aside to extend his winning ways. Having accused World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn and his board of bullying tactics, he was the one throwing his weight around on the tables, ending a pre-match war of words with Murphy, handing out a 13-7 hammering.

In the end, it was all too easy for the bad boy of the sport, so much so that Murphy was forced to eat humble pie, swallowing his pride to say that, in his opinion, he was beaten by the 2017 world champion. That will be music to the ears of Rocket backers, and would’ve added an extra bit of confidence to the betting favourite’s work.

Our sports traders were paying close attention and, impressed by what they saw, have the 41-year-old Englishman no bigger than 9/4 to go all the way. A five-time world champion, Ronnie was last seen lifting the title aloft in 2013. He faces Ding Junhui in a quarter-final match on Tuesday that will tell us if he can complete the half-dozen. If coming through unscathed, that 9/4 will take a hammering.

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