Day could enjoy last laugh against Jester
Hawk also eyeing victory
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Mark Selby is a brilliant player but he has twice tasted defeat in the first round of the Ladbrokes Players Championship and could be vulnerable again when he takes on Ryan Day.
The best Selby has managed in this event is a single semi-final appearance from five visits and those disappointing performances include a first-round defeat to Jack Lisowski – a player now ranked number 48 in the world.
It’s difficult to criticise the Jester given that he has won two World Championships, three Masters titles and two UK Championship crowns, but he can chuck in the occasional stinker and on recent form Day looks overpriced at 5-2.
Selby lost to Martin Gould in the first round of last month’s Ladbrokes World Grand Prix and made only the last 32 of the recent Welsh and Gibraltar Opens.
Obviously, Selby is a top-class cueman who could easily return to form but he faces a tough contest against Day either way.
Dynamite has been in great nick, making the final of the Grand Prix last month before a rock-solid run to the semi-finals of last week’s Gibraltar Open.
Day has shown he can mix it with snooker’s elite and isn’t far off his best at the moment.
It’s not always wise to read much into head-to-head records but it is worth noting that Day has won four of the last six meetings between these two and he looks value to improve that record.
Barry Hawkins takes on Neil Robertson in one of the ties of the first round and the Hawk looks set to swoop.
Hawkins has been the most consistent and impressive cueman on tour this season so it’s surprising that he isn’t a clear favourite against the Aussie.
Hawkins has reached at least the quarter-finals of all four major tournaments held in 2017 and has been playing some fantastic snooker.
Robbo’s deadly break-building hasn’t been on show this term and the Aussie probably doesn’t have the cueball control or safety game to match the ultra-consistent Hawkins.
R Day 1pt 5-2 Sky Bet
B Hawkins 1pt Evs general