The Magician has looked a different player altogether this season since he has toned down his commitments on the World Snooker board. He reached the final of the first two Chinese tournaments losing out to Judd Trump at the International Championship and Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Shanghai Masters. He made a third consecutive final at the China Championship where he was tested to the max, edging out Mark Williams 10-9.
Although the results were always going to go down after such an impressive spell the performances have still been excellent. He lost 4-3 to Tom Ford at the last 16 stages of the English Open with Tom knocking in his second maximum of the season. At the last event the World Open he bowed out at the last 32 stage to Graeme Dott however the Scot played his best snooker for many a year in overcoming the 2005 World Champion.
He opens up against 12 time Women’s World Champion Reanne Evans, however that’s not a game that should test Shaun, and bookmakers expect him to whitewash his opponent. Shaun has the second best win % on tour this season with 81.48% and we see this being a tournament he would want to do well in.
First up for Higgins is a game against Stuart Bingham. “Ball run” has looked excellent in patches this season but the consistency is not there to warrant the prices he is. He’s yet to make it past the quarter final of any event this season. Higgins on the other hand has the joint 4th best win % on tour this season winning 77.27% of his matches. Higgins had made three last 16’s and the final of the 6 Red World Championship before last week, where he bowed out at the Semi Final stages of the World Open to World Number 1 Judd Trump.
Higgins met Stuart Bingham at the Quarter Finals stages of the World Open where he beat him 5-2. Higgins leads the head to head 14 wins to 7 and we expect him to progress and we expect him to meet Ronnie O’Sullivan in the group final. Ronnie’s not likely to be at full focus in the afternoon as he plays “The Whirlwind” Jimmy White and is expected to cruise that without a problem. John is one of a few players Ronnie respects massively and at the prices we are happy to be on the Scots side here this week.