Barry Hawkins (@2.62) vs Neil Robertson (@1.5)
12-09-2019

Our Prediction:

Neil Robertson will win

Barry Hawkins – Neil Robertson Match Prediction | 12-09-2019 06:30

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This will be their first meeting in The Masters. That was in the semi-final of the China Open towards the end of last season. It is slightly more obvious in the frame count where Robertson leads 75-65 but it is Hawkins who won their last match. Including tournaments like the Championship League, these two have met on 21 past occasions with Robertson holding an 11-9 lead. There has also been one draw between the pair as well.

His debut berth in the World Championship shouldnt come as any great surprise then, but its difficult to envisage him going any further. With two semi-final and a couple of quarter-final appearances in ranking events this season, Donaldson is beginning to become more recognisable at the business end of comps. Kyren Wilson could be a dark horse for this years tournament as hes got all the necessary tools to do well in the 17-day Marathon of the Mind. The Paul Hunter Classic and German Masters champion reached the last four twelve months ago and was eventually undone by John Higgins but, like the four-time world champion, Wilson boasts a suitable temperament for the big occasion. The Scot has gone under the radar a touch but has actually been one of the most improved players on the circuit of late. Scott Donaldson was the last player to emerge from the 2019 World Snooker Championship qualifiers late on Wednesday night after a dramatic 10-9 victory over Lu Ning. With a taste of the single table set-up, the Kettering cueist will be desperate to make a return.

Neil Robertson vs Michael Georgiou

He usually likes to get the balls open and make big breaks. What I liked about Robertsons win in the opening round was that he won a couple of scrappy frames, and against Mark Williams those are the frames I wouldnt have given him much of a hope in. I expect him to look to do that here and pile the pressure on an opponent who could be low in confidence.

Higgins, with no silverware to his name and a series of disappointing early exits from tournaments to erase from his memory, has been disillusioned with the game since losing his second successive World Championship final last May. By beating Lyu Haotian in the preliminaries, Davis became the first player to reach the venue stages via the qualifiers ten times. Match sharp and with a laissez-faire attitude at the twilight of his career, the 46 year-old will be a tricky challenge that an out-of-form Higgins might not have any answers for this year. Arguably the worst draw that John Higgins could have received on the back of what has been his most miserable season in years. Six years ago at the same hurdle, Davis knocked Higgins out courtesy of a 10-6 scoreline and in fact boasts a superior head-to-head record against the former world number one. The Wizard of Wishaw will be hoping that the Crucible Theatre can inspire some of his old magic to return but in the first round of the 2019 World Snooker Championship hes been paired with an old nemesis at this stage.

Undoubtedly one of the matches of the round, twice former runner-up Ali Carters reward for emerging from the qualifiers is a date with fellow Englishman Jack Lisowski. Along with the experienced Perry and Dott, Carter is probably the player most of the seeds wanted to avoid. Still, this affair is practically a flip of a coin. Lisowski has come a long way since his 13-1 humiliation at the hands of John Higgins in the second round last year, reaching two ranking event finals and breaking into the elite top 16 for the first time in his career. The pair has met only once before, back in 2015 when the Dude pipped Carter in a decider at the International Championship and it could very well be that close again here. Whether hes been suitably tested or not could be an interesting factor. One possible bone of contention is that, while Carter ought to be warmed up nicely following three routine wins in qualifying, the Captain didnt actually play anyone higher in the rankings than Jimmy White at number 78.

I sense that missing this tournament last year did not sit well with Robertson and as a result he looks to have the bit between his teeth this time around. Ill take the Australian on the form book here. He was playing the better snooker of the two coming into the tournament and he certainly played better in the opening round.

Shaun Murphy vs Luo Honghao

Gould famously led Neil Robertson 11-5 in the second round in 2010, only for the Australian to fight back and proceed to capture his one and only world title. Mark Williams produced an unbelievable performance twelve months ago to surprise the pack and claim a third world crown, 15 years after his last success. Williams has lost the consistency that was a cornerstone of his game last season. Yet, its been a miserable time on the circuit for the Pinner Potter of late and he has been in danger of dropping outside the worlds top 32. The Welshman has been enjoying a year-long celebration since then and its fair to say that his game has suffered a touch as a result. Against Martin Gould, Williams probably could have received an easier opening challenge. A former ranking event winner, Gould has the type of game that can trouble any opponent on his day. Goulds performances at the Crucible havent been notable since and the experience, not to mention cool head, of Williams should prove to be the vital difference. As always, theres great expectation in learning who the defending champion will receive in the first round draw.

The Magician has lost all of his tricks and has been a constant loser in the early rounds of ranking events this season. Murphy won the Champion of Champions and reached several ranking event finals last season but since relocating to Ireland in the summer his game has been in tatters. Probably the most damning statistic is that, on the one-year rankings list, Murphy squeaks just inside the top 50 at number 48. Luo Honghao, meanwhile, is another one of the Chinese debutants and at 19 is the only teenager in the field. What has happened to Shaun Murphy? Murphy is on a bit of a hiding to nothing in this one and he could find himself in trouble if he cant stamp his authority on the contest quickly. That youthful exuberance could stand the rookie in good stead and Murphy isnt a stranger to disappointing defeats to young Chinese players, with Yan Bingtao, Zhao Xintong, and Yuan Sijun all notably taking the scalp of the 2005 world champion as inexperienced challengers in the past.

One of six players to claim multiple ranking titles this term, Bingham has only lost to Dott three times in 11 meetings and hammered the Pocket Dynamo when they last crossed paths in Sheffield four year ago. An intriguing battle between two former world champions, this has the hallmark of a game that could go right down to the wire. Like all the qualifiers, Dott has useful victories in the qualifiers under his belt and it will be interesting to see whether or not that has any influence on the outcome. In 2015, of course, Bingham proceeded to win the championship. Graeme Dotts record in this event is superb, underlined by the fact that he has featured at the TV stages of the World Championship every year since 2000, bar one. Even so, Stuart Bingham would have to be considered as the favourite, especially taking into account his wonderful form this season.

From 3-1 down to Mark Williams in the first round, Neil Robertson played a wonderful match and reeled off five frames on the spin to power his way into the quarter final. It was a concern that he was 3-1 down in the first place, and actually one pot away from being 4-1 down, but it was a positive that he remained calm under pressure and found his best game with his back against the wall. You can look at that win one of two ways.

Mark Allen vs Zhou Yuelong

It is hard to look beyond Neil Robertson in this match. Hawkins has a fair bit of fight about him but he wasnt playing all that well in the opening round. He played some excellent snooker in the first round when he was behind so if he gets off to a better start here there is every chance he could power clear of Barry Hawkins in this quarter final.

He usually delivers the goods in the second half of the season but in truth he was nothing special against Murphy, he was just fortunate that the Scottish Open finalist had a bit of a mare and never got going. I expected to see a good game from Barry Hawkins in this tournament. Hawkins will definitely need to play much better if he is to come through this match.

Two of the most enjoyable players to watch on the entire circuit when in full flow, this could really be a barnstorming battle between a pair of heavy scorers. Un-Nooh, the quickest player on the tour, is capable of running off frames in quick succession and one suspects that the 34 year-old will need that kind of fire power in order to match Trump. The first couple of players out of the bag in Thursday mornings draw were Judd Trump and Thepchaiya Un-Nooh. A possible crucial quarter-final with OSullivan awaits but first Trump will have to take the necessary precautions to overcome a skillful opponent in Un-Nooh. Trump, now a Masters champion, has matured immensely since then and is rightly considered to be one of the favourites for the title overall. Un-Nooh gave John Higgins a decent run on his debut in 2018 and Trump can probably expect a similarly tough test next week as the Thai returns for a second crack at the Crucible. As you can see, the bottom section is littered with thrilling looking ties and this one is no different. The latter has come a long way, though, since his desperate first round defeat to Rory McLeod in 2017.