Our preview of day eight of the Dafabet World Championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, where two more second round matches get underway today…
JUDD TRUMP v RYAN DAY
(Saturday 2.30pm, Sunday 2.30pm and Monday 7pm)
Day won one of the 10-9 thrillers of the first round to beat Stephen Maguire, which qualified as an upset but was not a huge surprise. Trump did not impress in beating Tom Ford 10-8, a match he could easily have lost.
The first round provides a form guide but should be qualified by the fact that a unique set of pressures affect players in the opening round. Pressure doesn’t go away at the Crucible but over the longer matches the standard of snooker tends to improve.
Also, in snooker you only have to play better than the other guy. Sometimes your best game isn’t enough, at other times you can coast through if your opponent is having a shocker.
Trump played world class snooker against John Higgins in the World Open but from 4-0 up was beaten 5-4. Against Ford, he was there for the taking but Ford was worse than he was.
Day has vast experience. He has already appeared in three World Championship quarter-finals and is now eyeing a fourth.
He plays a similar open, attacking game to Trump and is one of the best potters in the game. If he is on song he can cause the 2011 runner-up plenty of problems.
Could well be close, this one.
PREDICTION: Trump 13-12
DOMINIC DALE v MICHAEL WASLEY
(Saturday 7pm, Sunday 2.30pm and Monday 1pm)
Wasley has three problems. The first, and most obvious, is Dale, who had his serious face on in beating Mark Davis with a very solid first round performance. The second is that he will never have played a best of 25 frame match as a professional, and certainly never one over three days. He is inexperienced in dealing with the time between sessions, coping with whatever the scoreline happens to be. The third is that the attention is suddenly on him after his brilliant giant-killing act against Ding Junhui. He’s had days of media interviews and now enters the arena not as a plucky underdog but someone who will be watched closely.
But Dale also has a problem: Wasley has every right to be full of confidence. He is loving his Crucible adventure and doesn’t want it to end yet.
An advantage for Wasley could be that he has practised with Dale and so will know his strengths and weaknesses. Dale will also be going in knowing he has a great chance to reach the World Championship quarter-finals 14 years after his last appearance in the last eight, and this will bring its own pressure.
It’s a tough one to call, but Wasley seems a level-headed young man and I get the feeling we haven’t seen the last of him yet.
PREDICTION: Wasley 13-10
Photographs by Monique Limbos.