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World Snooker Championships – Selby unlikely to make it through Q4

Every major tournament has one and the World Snooker Championship is no different, “the group of death” or in this case “quarter of death”.  Each quarter of the draw contains top quality cuemen, but none has quite the unpredictability of quarter four, from which Mark Selby looks an uneasy 6/4 favourite to qualify, given Ding Junghui 11/4 and Mark Allen 3/1.

Mark Selby seems to have the easiest of starts of the big three, with a first round clash against qualifier Matthew Selt – 50/1 to win quarter four with Coral – for which he is a 1/8 favourite, but from  then on the going will become more treacherous. If successful the current world number one will face either Barry Hawkins or 21-year-old qualifier Jack Lisowski in a second round clash which would set up a meeting with either Ding or Mark Allen in the quarters.

Given Selby’s record against Hawkins it’s far from a foregone conclusion that the ‘Jester from Leicester’ will make it that far. ‘The Hawk’ and his potential second round foe are deadlocked in head-to-head battles at five apiece and Hawkins has won three of the last five clashes, including a 10-3 demolition in 19-frame action at last year’s tournament.

Ding Junghui and Irish enfant-terrible Mark Allen are set to meet in a fiendishly competitive second round heat, providing they overcome first round foes Mark King and Alan McManus respectively.

If they are to do so then recent form suggests that it’ll be the Chinese cueman that prevails. Ding has won five of their last six meetings and all four clashes since the turn of 2012.

Selby will certainly hope their clash follows the form book as Allen has had the sign over him of late, winning their last four meetings. Although Ding’s recent record against the ‘Jester’ has seen him defeated he too has had the edge on the world number one at the highest level, besting him in the 2012 Welsh Open and in the quarter finals of this very tournament.

Ding’s recent mastery of Mark Allen and his ability to overcome Selby in the big tournaments suggest that it’s the 11/4 shot who will emerge victorious from the World Championships quarter of death.