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My World Championship preview: part three

Postby Tubberlad

In part three of my 2010 World Championship preview, we highlight the hopes of Stephen Maguire, Stephen Lee, Peter Ebdon, Graeme Dott, Mark Allen, Tom Ford, Ryan Day & Mark Davis.

John Higgins vs Barry Hawkins
Mark King vs Steve Davis
Neil Robertson vs Fergal O'Brien
Marco Fu vs Martin Gould
Ali Carter vs Jamie Cope
Joe Perry vs Michael Holt
Ding Junhui vs Stuart Pettman
Shaun Murphy vs Gerard Greene
Stephen Maguire vs Stephen Lee
Peter Ebdon vs Graeme Dott
Mark Allen vs Tom Ford
Ryan Day vs Mark Davis

Mark Selby vs Ken Doherty
Stephen Hendry vs Anda Zhang
Mark J Williams vs Marcus Campbell
Ronnie O'Sullivan vs Liang Wenbo

Stephen Maguire
Maguire has not been the sensation many felt he would be. In 2005 he entered the tournament as second favourite, but a 10-9 loss against Ronnie O'Sullivan seems to have hindered his progress considerably.

On his day, Maguire can be awesome. His 2004 UK Championship win was a joy from beginning to end, and prior to his recent loss in confidence, his 6-1 win over O'Sullivan at the 2004 British Open was breathtaking. In 2008, he played incredibly to take an 8-0 lead over Neil Robertson at the Crucible.

In 2007, Maguire had a great chance of winning the title. Playing arguably the best snooker, he let slip a 14-10 lead against eventual winner John Higgins. It was another example of Maguire losing his edge when it mattered most, and his record against the very best is worrying.

His lack of mental strength will see more disappointment.
Verdict: 2nd round

Stephen Lee
After some recent scandals, it was inevitable Lee would be drawn against a man who played in the most controversial game ever seen in betting terms.

Lee posesses arguably the most impressive cueing stance in the game, but has achieved relatively little with it. A four times ranking event winner, he has failed to win any majors, and his best Curcible performance came to an end in 2003 when he was hammered 17-7 by Mark Williams.

Lee has had a lot of trouble with his game in recent years, and his low confidence should see him knocked out fairly early.
Verdict: First round

Peter Ebdon
The 2002 World Champion has been very patchy in recent times. Although a winner at last year's China Open, Ebdon has had little to cheer about since winning the UK Championship in 2006. Last year he suffered a very disappointing result in losing to Nigel Bond at the first hurdle, despite entering in high confidence.

Ebdon will always give it his all, and is a fabulous matchplayer. But in a repeat of the 2006 World Final, his conquerer Graeme Dott is sure to put up an almight battle. I feel Ebdon may come out second best again.
Verdict: First round

Graeme Dott
A winner in 2006, Graeme Dott is nowhere near as naturally gifted as most in this draw, but is in my opinion the best matchplayer. He has carved out a fine career, winning this tournament in 2006, finishing runner-up in 2004, claiming two ranking events and almost taking top spot in the world rankings.

He has battled depression and come out the winner, typical of the Scot's nature. A fine, gritty player who is among the last players anyone would want to face.

In a game littered with underachievers, Dott should be cherished. Loaded with self-belief, it would not surprise me if he went on another deep run.
Verdict: Quarter-finals

Mark Allen
Allen thrilled the masses last year by deservedly making the semi-finals. His win over Ronnie O'Sullivan was not only well deserved, but great to watch. In the semi-finals, he was totally outclassed for the first 16 frames by eventual champion John Higgins, but fought back admirably and nearly stole the game from the jaws of defeat.

Allen is a tough nut who can't be taken lighty. Although Tom Ford is decent first round opposition, I think the Northern Irishman will have enough to pull through, and the decent draw may see him go far again.

He fears nobody. One of the dark horses, but the trophy might be a little beyond him.
Verdict: Semi finals

Tom Ford
He dished out a hammering to one of the highest rated qualifiers, so this a man with potential.

Ford plays an attractive game, and although his record may not inspire much fear, he's a talented player who could cause Mark Allen some problems. He has taken a few scalps, should have beaten O'Sullivan at the 2007 Northern Ireland Trophy, and has made four centuries in a best-of-9 match. Not bad going.

He'll be hard to shake off, but Allen should put him away, eventually.
Verdict: First round

Ryan Day
The best snooker I've seen from this man was at the 2008 Grand Prix. He looked excellent at times, a treat to watch, and I rated him very highly. But, he lost that final to John Higgins, despite a brave comeback, and I haven't seen anything like that play from him since.

A very good player, but he lacks the mental strength needed, and has a few battle scars from ranking finals.

He knocked John Higgins out in 2008, but such highlights will be hard to come by this time.
Verdict: second round

Mark Davis
Davis has put down a good season, and will be no pushover. Winner of the six-red World Championship in December, he's in decent form and may well fancy his chances of causing a shock against Ryan Day.

He'll put up a good fight, but will fall just short.
Verdict: first round

Re: My World Championship preview: part three

Postby Roland

Aye, good analysis from the resident tubberman.

I would love to see Maguire play his best throughout the tournament and show a true test of his talent. The way he despatched of Mark Williams in the Welsh a couple of months agos shows how good he can be, and he's a world beater in that form but he's too inconsistent. Too many excuses for me ("I need more experience", "It's not my time" etc). He obviously feels the pressure, but he can play under pressure if he puts his mind to it. At this moment in time I feel he has the talent to win the big one but not the mental strength. If he can prove me wrong I will be very happy for him even if he beats my favourites along the way because he will have proven his doubters like me wrong. But I remain to be convinced. Of the players in this group though tubber, he's the best player for me.

Re: My World Championship preview: part three

Postby Tubberlad

I agree that Maguire is the best of this group. I think on form he's top three in the world, I've never forgotten his brilliance of five or six years ago.

However, at the present time, I think he's too inconsistent, and if he comes up against the likes of Dott or Ebdon, he may grow frustrated. His temperament is somewhat questionable. A very angry man <laugh>

Re: My World Championship preview: part three

Postby Bourne

I think Allen should come through this section if he brings his best game. The great thing for him is that if he does make the semis and, worse case scenario comes up against O'Sullivan, he has that comfort of knowing that he's beaten him in the longer frame format before which could be vital if he has ambitions of going all the way, as i'm sure he does. The winner of Dott vs Ebdon is a worthy 2nd fav imo, just don't rate Mags these days. :huh2:

Re: My World Championship preview: part three

Postby Roland

Maguire v Dott/Ebdon is another potential classic. I fancy Mags to do the biz. It's when he comes up against the likes of Selby/Ronnie that he'll be truely tested.

Re: My World Championship preview: part three

Postby Tubberlad

It's a pity Maguire seems to struggle so much against O'Sullivan now, as he really had his number for a while. O'Sullivan said he'd win two or three world titles, and when they played at the British Open he said he was the best player in the world.

By the way, Maguire was stunning that night, a deserving 6-1 winner. And then he beat O'Sullivan 9-6 at the UK... Ronnie played very well, and moved ahead a few times, but Maguire was just too good.

Re: My World Championship preview: part three

Postby Bourne

mediter wrote:With the exception of Ronnie O´Sullivan, Maguire is as good player as anyone. He´s a top 5 player, and he has a brilliant talent and overall game, anyone with a brain can easily see that.

Sure isn't using that talent very well these days.