It’s a 1am start on Monday for this year’s first ranking event of the season,the Australian Open.Defending champion Judd Trump goes into this event as the 4/1 favourite with Apollobet and it’s hard to disagree with the season he had towards the end of last year.The “Ace In The Pack” faces friend on the circuit Jack Lisowski in Round 1 and goes into that match 1/5 to progress.A few of the big names as expected have dodged this one.Ding,Ronnie,Williams,Dott and past champion Barry Hawkins out of the top 16 are all leaving this one alone,so it has a deflated feel to it.
It’s always hard to pick out a potential winner of these early tournaments because we don’t know what they have been doing in the off season.Caution is always recommended,but we will have a go anyway looking at each quarter in Bendigo.
As we have said,Judd Trump is the defending champion after he crushed the dreams of the home fans last year beating Aussie Neil Robertson 9-5 in the final.He has the likes of Xaio Guodong,Stephen Maguire & Ricky Walden in his quarter so it will be no easy task to reach the Semi’s.I fully expect him to beat Jack Lisowski in the first round as Jack has dropped off a bit the last couple of years after promising so much early on.His shot selection is a bit suspect at times,but on his day he can still bang the breaks in.If Trump gets through then he will face the winner of Guodong/Ian Burns in Round 2 and you’d have to expect it to be the Chinese No2.That will be a real test for Trump as I really rate Guodong,so that is a potential banana skin.Maguire should be warmed up after his World Cup exploits with John Higgins.The duo reached the final in Wuxi so should have blown the cobwebs off.I think Joel Walker has potential,but still expect Mags to come through that one.Friends Ricky Walden & Andrew Higginson will go head-to-head down under and Walden goes into that one as a worthy favourite after another good season.Higginson is playing well in practice I’ve heard,and on his day can cause a few shocks.
Winner – Judd Trump
Match Bets – 2pts Andrew Higginson (+2.5 Frames) 8/11 Coral. 3pts DBL Stephen Maguire & Judd Trump 4/6 Lads,S James,Coral
This looks a tough quarter on paper with Fu,Gould,Allen,Robertson and probably Matt Selt in the mix.Obviously the home fans are craving an Aussie winner but things didn’t go according to plan last year.Robbo looked all out the winner up until the final,but Trump denied him the tournament he has been after the past two years winning 9-5.Matt Selt looks sure to come through his wildcard match against Ben Judge and is playing out of his skin at the minute.It certainly would be no surprise to the snooker community to see Selt beat Robertson,so he has his hands full to get to Round 2.2013 winner Marco Fu has been handed a tough opener aginst former top 16 player Martin Gould.Either player could take that one so at odds against,Gould will have his supporters.Mark Allen doesn’t like playing in Oz so I can’t see him up for this one.With that in mind,we will take a punt on Gould to reach the Semi’s at a huge price!
Winner – Martin Gould
Match Bets – 1pt Martin Gould 7/4 VC & Coral
Mark Selby had a bad season last time out and it will be interesting to see how he’s playing against Mark King in Round 1.Jamie Jones could well beat Mark Davis in match 12 with the Welsh potter flying last season and Mavis sort of plodding along rather than setting the world alight.Michael White takes on Iranian Hossein Vafei Ayouri in Round 1 and that is sure to be the match of the round with both players rapid,potting machines when in the groove.I think Shaun Murphy will beat Ali in the opener and he should have enough to take the quarter with the cue action he has in his arsenal.He’s the potential winner of this for me,so get on now for Smurf to progress to the final.
Winner – Shaun Murphy
Match Bets – Jamie Jones (+1.5 Frames) 17/20 Coral
World Champion Stuart Bingham falls into this section and he used this win in Bendigo back in 2011 to catapult his career from nearly man,to multiple ranking winner.He faces the gritty Irishman Fergal O’Brien in Round 1 but should prove too strong for the Ferginator,so sets up a possible showdown with John Higgins in Round 2.Higgins himself plays an in-form player in Michael Georgiou,but Georgiou will surely be starstruck when he faces the four time World Champion.Perry,Milkins & Woollaston will all fancy their chances of getting through this section,so it’s sure to be wide open who gets to the Semi’s.I’d take a punt on Joe Perry to get to the last four with the “Gentleman” playing some good stuff of late,and has one of the easier tasks you’d think in Round 1 playing Jamie Burnett.Burnett is still a good player on the circuit,but his heart doesn’t seem to be in it at the minute so get on Perry to progress.
Winner – Joe Perry
Match Bets – 1pt DBL Joe Perry & Stuart Bingham at 8/11 with ApolloBet & Lads
Outright Bets – 2pts Judd Trump 9/2 Betway. 1pt Shaun Murphy 8/1 ApolloBet & Boyles
Bendigo is 9hrs ahead of the UK.
The draw for down under is here.
All betting on the event courtesy of ApolloBet can be found here.