Our look ahead to day five of the Dafabet Masters as the quarter-finals get underway…
MARCO FU v SHAUN MURPHY
35 Age 31
9 Ranking 8
27 Centuries this season 16
8 Masters appearances (inc.2014) 10
Runner-up 2011 Best Masters performance Runner-up 2012
THE CASE FOR FU
The Hong Kong professional blows hot and cold but he can beat anyone when he’s on his game, and his 6-5 victory over Judd Trump included an impressive succession of long pots. Dangerous when in the groove.
THE CASE FOR MURPHY
Murphy didn’t play his best snooker in beating Ding Junhui in the first round but the psychological impact of the win cannot be overstated.
They each won first round matches in which they were second favourites but Murphy is a quintessential confidence player and the fact he has beaten Ding must give him huge belief for the rest of the tournament.
MARK SELBY v JOHN HIGGINS
30 Age 38
2 Ranking 12
29 Centuries this season 20
7 Masters appearances (inc.2014) 20
Winner 3 times Best Masters performance Winner twice
THE CASE FOR SELBY
For once, he surrendered a big lead against Mark Davis in the first round but Selby has never lost a decider at the Masters and that suggests significant inner steel.
THE CASE FOR HIGGINS
He may have struggled in this event in recent years but Higgins is still a twice Masters champion who came to the Ally Pally looking for confidence and who duly found some with his first round defeat of Stuart Bingham.
They are two great all round match players but Selby is at home at the Ally Pally, with just three defeats from 20 matches. He wasn’t at his best against Davis but knows he will have to up his game when he tackles Higgins and this may provide the focus he needs.