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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Improving Xiao to make short work of rival Saengkham

Chinese talent leads Thai 3-0 in their personal series

Xiao Guodong has always scored well against Noppon Saengkham
1 of 1

Third round
BBC2, BBCi & Eurosport 1, 1pm & 7pm Tuesday

Xiao Guodong has been a little inconsistent in recent seasons, but he's a fine player at his best and should have too much for his Betway UK Championship third-round opponent Noppon Saengkham.

Xiao made light work of Tom Ford in a 6-1 mauling on Sunday. Ford was suffering a bout of flu but that shouldn't detract from the Chinese ace's display, which featured breaks of 95, 73, 67, 65 and 57.

He has dropped only one frame in his first two outings in York and it will be a surprise if Saengkham keeps tabs on the favourite.

Saengkham is performing better after a slow start to the season, but the Thai does not possess Xiao's class.

Xiao and Saengkham have met three times, with the favourite winning them all. Their first two went to a decider – so with Saengkham playing better he should be respected. But Xiao, who has always scored well in this series, won 4-0 in their latest meeting.

Xiao is short enough to win the match, but he can be backed to successfully concede a frame and a half to Saengkham. The favour­ite will not want to risk losing via a decider and the outsider will do well to win five frames anyway.

Elsewhere, little appeals with the oddsmakers appearing to have most matches nailed down.

Kyren Wilson should be able to find a way past Ricky Walden but he is a little short at 4-7. The Kettering ace looked in decent nick in his opener against Sean O'Sullivan but was less impressive in round two against Yu Delu.

John Higgins tends to put more store in the Betfred World Championship than the UK event and the Scot could find Yan Bingtao a tougher opponent than Cao Yupeng, whom he defeated 6-4 on Sunday.

Xiao Guodong -1.5 frames
2pts 8-11 Betfair, Paddy Power

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Xiao has dropped only one frame in his first two outings in York and it will be a surprise if Saengkham keeps tabs on the favourite
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