Betfred World Championship snooker Monday match previews & free tips
Mark Selby could be given tough test at Crucible by Brown
Preview, tips and analysis for day four of the 2020 Betfred World Championship snooker at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield on Monday.
When to watch
BBC & Eurosport, from 10am Monday
1pt 6-4 Betfred
Shaun Murphy -3.5 frames on handicap
1pt 4-6 general
Jordan Brown +5.5 frames on handicap
2pts 8-11 Betfred
Mark Selby v Jordan Brown
Bookmakers are expecting three-time world champion Mark Selby to make it a nightmare Crucible debut for Jordan Brown, but the improving Northern Irishman is capable of keeping the scoreline respectable in their opening round clash.
Selby dominated snooker between 2014 and 2017, conquering the world on three occasions, but the rapid rise of Judd Trump and the revival of Neil Robertson has seen his dominance wane.
The Jester From Leicester should still have enough to get the better of Brown but the manner in which the layers are expecting him to prevail may be a touch disrespectful on his improving challenger.
At 32, Brown has taken time to make his mark but he wasn't gifted his debut at the Crucible - he earned it by overcoming three proven performers.
The Antrim ace toppled Rory McLeod and Hossein Vafaei before recording a decisive 10-6 win against Ryan Day, who until last season was an established top-16 player.
Wins over Stuart Bingham and Dave Gilbert (twice) this season show what Brown is capable of on his day and his achievements in qualifying should have boosted his self-belief.
Having no crowd to contend with should only help him settle early doors and, with that in mind, he looks an excellent bet at 8-11 with a 5.5-frame start on the handicap.
Shaun Murphy v Noppon Saengkham
Shaun Murphy has been a model of consistency this season and the 2005 world champion should have few concerns overcoming Noppon Saengkham in his Crucible curtain-raiser.
Murphy has claimed silverware at the Welsh Open and the China Championship this season, while also reaching the final of the International Championship and the Shanghai Masters, and with confidence restored he is firmly in the reckoning for a second world title.
The Magician whitewashed Crucible debutant Luo Honghao 10-0 in the opening round last season when still operating way below his best and, although a more seasoned Saengkham should offer more fight, a decisive win still looks likely.
Saengkham was a 10-2 winner against Eden Sharav in his final qualifier, having previously accounted for Michael White 6-4, but he had a high break of just 82 across those two wins and managed only two breaks over 65.
The ease in the Thai’s qualifying victories was more to do with his opponent’s woes rather than his brilliance and Murphy may be able to wrap this one up quickly. Backing him to cover a 3.5-frame handicap looks the way to go.
Jack Lisowski v Anthony McGill
Anthony McGill was one of the standout performers in qualifying for this year’s Betfred World Championship and his Sheffield adventure can continue with the first-round scalp of 13th seed Jack Lisowski.
McGill dropped just two frames in bulldozing his way past Jak Jones (6-1) and Sam Baird (10-1) and ten visits of 50 or more across those two victories highlights a player operating at the top of his game.
A quiet few seasons on tour have seen the Smiling Assassin slip to 39th in the world rankings, but he was as high as 13th in 2018 and it shouldn’t be long until he is back knocking on the door of the elite top 16.
Lisowski is one of the most naturally gifted players on tour but he frequently underperforms and the longer format isn’t something that necessarily suits his fearless, attacking approach.
The Cheltenham cueman has won just one match from three visits to the Crucible and he fell at the first hurdle to Ali Carter in a 10-6 defeat last year.
There isn’t much between this pair in peak performance, so 6-4 about McGill, who has proven his well-being and was a quarter-finalist here in 2015, may be worth taking.
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