Wuxi Classic betting preview
The 2013/14 snooker season continues on Monday as the sport's leading players visit China for the Wuxi Classic. It's the second time this tournament has featured as one of the calendar's ranking events, having been won by Ricky Walden last June. Coverage is live on Eurosport, starting on Monday at 7.30am.
Before being elevated to ranking status last year, the tournament was staged four times and it has now been won by five different players. Ding Junhui won the first edition back in 2008 and is followed on the roll of honour by Mark Allen, Shaun Murphy and Mark Selby.
As well as winning the inaugural tournament, Ding has also reached two further finals, so he clearly enjoys playing in front of his Chinese fans at the Wuxi City Sports Park Stadium. The 26-year-old local hero - he hails from the city of Yixing, also in Jiangsu province - was beaten in round one last year, but that was during a poor run of form.
Ding's current form is much better. He won the Players Tour Championship finals, was a semi-finalist at the Welsh Open and reached the last eight at both the World Open and the World Championship, so it's been a fruitful six months or so. At a top price of 9/1 with BetVictor, he looks a decent selection to continue his good record here this week.
At the top of the betting is Neil Robertson, who was enjoying a fine sequence of results prior to his first round loss at The Crucible. The Australian played here for the first time last year and was beaten in the first round, but he went on to win the China Open in Beijing prior to the World Championship. Robertson is a top price of 11/2 with Paddy Power.
Walden's victory here was his second in China, following on from his 2008 success at the Shanghai Masters - his only previous ranking title. His career is littered with first round defeats at ranking events, but he had never previously won a match in Sheffield before making it all the way to the semi-finals last month. That will have given him renewed confidence and while he is 14/1 in places, he can be backed for a successful defence at 25/1 with BetVictor and Paddy Power. That has to be a value each-way bet.
World Championship semi-finalist Judd Trump is second in the outright betting at best odds of 7/1 with Paddy Power and Stan James, while 2009 champion Allen is a 10/1 chance with BetVictor and Stan James. John Higgins, who won the season-opening European Tour event in Bulgaria, is available at 12/1 with Ladbrokes.
|Ding Junhui||Tournament Winner||9/1||BetVictor|
|Ricky Walden||Tournament Winner||25/1||BetVictor & Paddy Power|