After what has been a week of snooker at its very best,16 have become 8 in the hunt for the 2017 Masters title.
Ronnie O'Sullivan v Neil Robertson
First up we a real battle of the giants as two of the games greats face off against each other.Ronnie of course is lucky to be still here this week after surviving a match ball black against Liang in round one,but in the end closed the match out well to squeak through 6-5.
We often see the reprieved man in these events go on to be victorious,but Ronnie will know he will need to play better if he is continue in his quest for a seventh Masters title here.That is because last night against Ali Carter,we saw the type of display from Neil Robertson that had been missing so far far this season.This really was the Aussie back to his free scoring best,slamming in long pots and building big frame winning breaks.
So a fascinating match lies in store,but I just feel this is the type of match Ronnie thrives on in the big arena and he may just edge it here
Ronnie to win 6-4
Marco Fu v Mark Allen
Both these men will be coming into this match with heightened confidence after each coming through final frame deciders in round one..
If ever there was proof that success breeds success,thee Marco Fu is it. In the days of old,the way his first round match began here,Fu would have been gone from this tournament,but despite some fabulous stuff from Trump to lead 3-0,Fu's head never dropped and drawing on the comeback he made last month to beat Jon Higgins in the Scottish Open final,he again fought back here,knocking in three centuries of his own to edge past his opponent 6-5.
The match between Mark Allen & John Higgins never quite reached those heights,but was fascinating none the less and it was the man from N.Ireland who got revenge for some recent defeats to see off the Scot 6-5.
This has the makings of another close one,but i just think Fu is riding the cresy=t of a wave at the moment and fancy him to maybe nick this.
Fu to win 6-4.
Joe Perry v Ding Junhui
The most one sided victor in the first round belonged to Joe perry who swept past Stuart Bingham 6-1 in a typically solid Perry display.He will have to produce that or better again here to see off his Chinese opponent Ding Junhui.Ding,who came here this year on the back of five successive first round defeats at the Masters since he lifted the title in 2011,got through a potentially tricky first round clash with rising star Kyren Wilson 6-3 and will now be fancying his chances of making an impact here this week.
Perry is just the type of player Ding has struggled against in the past ,but I still expect the Chinese to come through this
Ding to win 6-3
Barry Hawkins v Mark Selby
Mark Selby stands just three wins away from the "Selby Slam",but only after coming through the sternest test this afternoon against Mark Williams.Selby had looked superb early on as he lead 3-1,but after the interval when things got scrappy he found for once an opponent at least his equal in digging things out.Williams had even carved out the first chance in the decider,but the cruellest of kicks on the blue proved to be his last shot as Selby produced a gutsy clearance to fall over the line 6-5.
Williams was also a deciding frame loser in the first round here last yr against Ronnie,who of course went on the claim the title & Selby will be hoping history repeats itself this year.
Standing in his way next is Barry Hawkins,who was a convincing 6-1 win over Shaun Murphy tonight. Hawkins is very much a man for these big tournaments and was runner up here last year,.If he produces his best he is well capable of beating beating the world champ,but I think much like Ronnie,it could again be a case of a lucky escape spurring Selby on and I see him reaching the last 4.
Selby to win 6-2