Some thoughts for the deciding matches.Ding Junhui v Nigel Bond
: Considering the rest of the possible opponents for Ding, Bond was by far the best player at his prime. By beating Higginson and Gary Wilson, he proved that he can be competitive even now, at 50. Can he really threaten Ding? I am not sure, but Ding will be the one who will have the pressure, so anything can happen.Ian Burns v Peter Ebdon
: Burns beat Ebdon 5-0 a few days ago in China, but best of 19 is a completely different story, as Peter has shown us yesterday. The question is if Ebbo has the stamina to face another difficult best of 19, less than 24 hours after his battle with Greene. I think that he can do it and, to be honest, I prefer to see him at the Crucible once again, as he's one of the biggest characters in the game.Anthony Hamilton v Robbie Williams
: Hamilton was total rubbish the previous two seasons and I had almost forgotten that he was still in the tour until the Welsh Open, where he beat Bingham with that maginificent clearance at the end. He has shown signs of the good old times with his results (and breaks) here and he has a chance against Robbie Williams, who proves that the long matches suit better to him. Difficult to predict who will win this, but I really want Hamilton!Mike Dunn v Graeme Dott
: Dott had difficult time against Sargeant and Saengkham, so maybe an experienced pro who has a very good season like Dunn, can cause him problems? It is possible, but Graeme is still the favourite.Robert Milkins v Kurt Maflin
: One more match where is difficult to predict the winners. Both players didn't have a good season and their way through the 3rd round wasn't easy, too. Milkins is a better player, but he is not consistent enough to call him clear favourite.Mark King v Michael Holt
: A clash of styles here, King has good results recently and can make damage to Holt's game, who is not strong mentally, either. I think King has a good chance for a Crucible return.Alan McManus v Jimmy Robertson
: Jimmy Robbo's results were impressive in the previous rounds, especially that 10-5 against Carrington, but McManus is a different story. The Scot had a bad season for his standards, but the same happened last year and somehow he finded the way for the Crucible. This time, though, I think that Robertson can stop him.Ken Doherty v Ryan Day
: I didn't expect Doherty to reach the 3rd round, but it's one more case that proves that the long matches show what a player is able to do in this game. To beat Day maybe is too much asked for Kendo, especially with the Welshman showing some bottle yesterday against Burden. I would fancy to see Doherty playing at Crucible again, but I like Day too. And I think that the latter will win.
----------------------------------------------------------------Kyren Wilson v Matthew Stevens
: Kyren managed to stay in high level after Shanghai success, although he didn't have a run even close to his triumph there. He will possibly reach the top 16 before the end of 2016 and he is considered the favourite against Stevens. But Matthew is still a very good player and his experience in long matches will help him to face the young gun. I don't know if he can beat Kyren, but I don't rule it out, in any way.Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Anthony McGill
: For me, it's the most interesting match of the 3rd round. Two (not so) young and ambitious players, for a place at snooker's most prestigious tournament. Ants is one of my favourite young players, I was quite sure that he would be at the top 16 this season, after last year's exciting run at the Worlds, but he had a terrible season and even being here is a success. Thep, on the other hand, has matured as a player this year. He is a joy to watch when he's on fire and deserves to play at the Crucible. Still difficult to choose, but I feel that it's Un-Nooh's turn this time.Liam Highfield v Sam Baird
: The less "commercial" match of the deciding round, perhaps. Both players have recorded great victories the previous days, but only one will reach the Crucible. I think that Baird is a bit better, but Liam is capable to beat him, for sure.Jack Lisowski v David Gilbert
: I didn't catch the days when Lisowski was considered the next big thing in snooker. I only see the last three seasons a talented but not consistent young guy, but I will be happy to see him progress. It will be difficult this time, though. Gilbert is a solid pro and had a great season. And I think that he will win this match.Mitchell Mann v Dechawat Poomjaeng
: As I stated for Lisowski above, I don't really understand all this excitement for Poomjaeng's style of play. He is a very good player, of course, but I don't consider him as something really special. He's the favourite to beat Mann, although I have not a clear opinion about the latter's quality -I am not sure that I have watched him in a whole match the last two and a half seasons that I don't miss any snooker tournament.Zhou Yuelong v Zhang Anda
: The first of the two chinese battles. I have expressed my appreciation for Zhou's talent many times and I still think that he is one of the few players under 20 years old who has the quality to be a future star of the game. He reached easily the top 64 in his second season as a pro and to reach the main stage of the Worlds at the age of 18 will be a great accomplishment -and a boost to his confidence. I like Zhanger (as Smart calls him), he is a decent player, but not special like Zhou. So, my vote is clear in this poll.Allister Carter v Dominic Dale
: I still consider Carter as a top 16 player in my mind and I think that if he won't be there, it will be a casualty comparable to a possible Ding's one. For sure, he is not as good as he was before his battle with cancer, but he is still able to beat a player like Dale. Xiao Guodong v Liang Wenbo
: Liang didn't justify the expectations that many had for him after his fantastic UK Championship run, but what can we say about his oppopent, who almost disappeared the last two seasons! It's quite a surprise that Xiao is one step away from Crucible, although Liang is a more complete player and I think that he will beat him. But that's what we were saying one year ago, when he was facing Zhang in this round. So...
The post appears lengthy -I thought when I started that I could have expressed my thoughts with less words, but it didn't happen. Still hope that you will read it in its entirety, though.