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Luca Brecel arrives in Sheffield after 12 successful months
Free snooker tips, best bets and analysis for day five of the Betfred World Championship on Wednesday.
where to watch
BBC & Eurosport, from 10am Wednesday
Kyren Wilson defeats Ding Junhui 10am
2pts 4-6 general
Hossein Vafaei +3.5 images on handicap against Judd Trump 2:30 p.m.
1pt 11-10 general
Luca Brecel -2.5 images on disability 7 p.m.
1pt 11-10 Coral, Ladbrokes
Kyren Wilson vs. Ding Junhui
Kyren Wilson’s clash with Ding Junhui is the pick of this year’s Betfred World Championship first round matches and the Warrior is meant to show why he is the fifth seed at the Crucible.
Ding is a former World Championship runner-up and has been in the last four twice, but all recent course and distance form is with Wilson, who has turned into a Sheffield specialist.
The Warrior have learned to peak for this event and have reached at least the quarter-final stage in each of the past six years, finishing second to Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2020 and reaching the semi-finals last year.
Ding is no longer the force of old and is no longer considered China’s number one, with Yan Bingtao and Zhao Xintong both having passed him in recent seasons.
Recent signs have been more encouraging but, even so, Ding failed to impress as he beat David Lilley 10-7 in his last qualifier for this event.
Wilson scores a lot and has a great temperament, but he’s also an adept safety player, suggesting Ding might struggle to keep tabs on him on a best-of-19 format.
Judd Trump versus Hossein Vafaei
Hossein Vafaei is one of three players making their Crucible debut this year, but the Iranian is a tough contender and shouldn’t be intimidated by the opportunity.
Vafaei worked hard to defeat Lei Peifan 10-9 in his last qualifying clash, but the Chinese teenager was operating at the peak of his powers and there must be some concern over the current form of the first-round opponent of Vafei, Judd Trump.
The Juddernaut was heavily outplayed in a 10-6 loss to Luca Brecel at the Tour Championship last month, so the 1-6 quotes about him are a little flattering.
Vafaei is a solid station wagon builder and is also proficient in the safety department, so we can expect him to keep this contest competitive.
The Iranian lost 6-5 to Trump in the Welsh Open semi-final last month and could give the world number four another scare.
Luca Brecel vs Noppon Saengkham
Luca Brecel is a player who has made huge progress this season, and after a successful campaign, the Belgian should imagine his chances against Noppon Saengkham.
After reaching the British Championship final in December, Brecel went one better later that month with a win over John Higgins in the Scottish Open final.
The Belgian’s 10-6 victory over Trump at the Tour Championship last month shows he is heading to Sheffield with a good nickname and should have the measure of his Thai challenger.
Saengkham is making his third visit to the Crucible and he impressed with two centuries in a 10-8 win over Robert Milkins in qualifying.
However, beating Brecel, who has taken his game to a new level this season, is an entirely different proposition and he is set to register comfortable success.
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FIRST PUBLICATION AT 4:40 PM, APRIL 19, 2022