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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Barry Hawkins should be suited by the longer format

Mark Selby has rediscovered the winning touch

Barry Hawkins takes aim
1 of 1

7am Saturday

A fully-wound up Neil Robertson whitewashed Stuart Bingham in the last eight of the China Open but he should expect a much tougher test in his semi-final showdown with the rejuvenated Barry Hawkins.

Robertson is a red-hot favourite and rightly so after bulldozing Bingham but the longer format of first to ten frames demands more, particularly against Hawkins, who is an excellent match player.

The Hawk needed deciding frames to see off Cao Yupeng and Tom Ford in his two most recent Beijing outings but they were battles he would have lost earlier in the campaign and he looks to be growing in belief as the Betfred World Championship gets nearer.

Hawkins thrives at this time of year - he has made at least the semi-finals at the Crucible in four of the last five seasons - and a potential marathon could see him surprise the Aussie.

Mark Selby looks to be rediscovering his touch just in time for his World Championship defence and the Jester from Leicester should make light work of Kyren Wilson.

Selby, advised ante-post by Racing Post Sport’s Dave Clark, has been in superb shape and his 6-2 demolition of Mark Williams on Friday suggests he has shrugged of the problems that were holding him back earlier in the campaign.

Wilson did well to claw his way back from 4-2 down against Ding Junhui in the last eight, and likewise to come from 4-0 behind against Jack Lisowski in his semi-final, but a similarly slow start would be punished by the world champion.

B Hawkins

1pt 6-4 Betfair, Sky Bet
M Selby -2.5 games on handicap
1pt 8-11 bet365

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Selby has been in superb shape
E.W. Terms
Sky bet