Barry Hawkins (@2.62) vs Neil Robertson (@1.5)
12-09-2019

Our Prediction:

Neil Robertson will win

Barry Hawkins – Neil Robertson Match Prediction | 12-09-2019 06:30

But its never easy at the Crucible, never mind when its a first appearance, and facing someone like Barry Hawkins doesnt make the task any simpler. The latter, of course, has become somewhat of a master at the longer format and has reached the semi-finals or better in five out of the last six editions. Li has risen into the top 32 in the world rankings this season and is undoubtedly a dangerous player. The 28 year-old is one of six Chinese in the draw, four of whom are set to make their debuts on the famous stage. Some people might be surprised to learn that Li Hang, despite first turning professional in 2008, has never actually played in the World Championship at the Crucible. The Hawk hasnt enjoyed an especially good campaign but might fancy his chances in an open looking top quarter of the draw to repeat his now trademark run to the last four.

From 3-1 down to Mark Williams in the first round, Neil Robertson played a wonderful match and reeled off five frames on the spin to power his way into the quarter final. It was a concern that he was 3-1 down in the first place, and actually one pot away from being 4-1 down, but it was a positive that he remained calm under pressure and found his best game with his back against the wall. You can look at that win one of two ways.

It is hard to look beyond Neil Robertson in this match. Hawkins has a fair bit of fight about him but he wasnt playing all that well in the opening round. He played some excellent snooker in the first round when he was behind so if he gets off to a better start here there is every chance he could power clear of Barry Hawkins in this quarter final.

LIVEBarry Hawkins - Neil RobertsonShanghai Masters - 12 September 2019

To some critics out there, the Chinese players are often unfairly being labeled as failures and underachievers, which is somewhat hilarious considering the majority of them are either teenagers or in their early twenties. Zhou is one of the leading protagonists in the huge pack of young Chinese stars that are emerging. The 2009 semi-finalist will be hoping that the advantage to all that will be a fresh outlook ahead of the sports most vigurous examination. Allen skipped the China Open, an unusual decision that cost him his spot in an easier looking top half of the draw. Another mouthwatering prospect in this bracket of the 2019 World Snooker Championship draw is the match between Mark Allen and Zhou Yuelong. The Northern Irishman has been one of the players of the season, although things have gone a touch quiet since he captured a brace of ranking titles and reached the UK Championship final at the end of the calendar year. Still, while Zhou should represent a decent workout for Allen, its hard to look past the 33 year-old in terms of reaching the last 16 on this occasion.

I sense that missing this tournament last year did not sit well with Robertson and as a result he looks to have the bit between his teeth this time around. Ill take the Australian on the form book here. He was playing the better snooker of the two coming into the tournament and he certainly played better in the opening round.

This will be their first meeting in The Masters. That was in the semi-final of the China Open towards the end of last season. It is slightly more obvious in the frame count where Robertson leads 75-65 but it is Hawkins who won their last match. Including tournaments like the Championship League, these two have met on 21 past occasions with Robertson holding an 11-9 lead. There has also been one draw between the pair as well.

To seal his debut at the Crucible, the 31 year-old overcame Soheil Vahedi before standout successes over world number 17 Ryan Day and two-time former finalist Matthew Stevens. That said, the five-time ranking event winner has produced a relatively consistent season and will be hoping to improve on a dismal recent Crucible record that reads six first round defeats in the last eight years. Tians next opponent will be Stephen Maguire, who was once thought of as a nailed on world champion. Other qualifiers gained more headlines but one of the most impressive of the lot was Tian Pengfei. Now 38, Maguire often acts like a player who doesnt really have much belief in his game. Things havent quite worked out that way for the Scot despite once claiming that it would be a failure if he didnt etch his name on the trophy before the age of 30.

Ding Junhui vs Anthony McGill

Undoubtedly one of the matches of the round, twice former runner-up Ali Carters reward for emerging from the qualifiers is a date with fellow Englishman Jack Lisowski. Along with the experienced Perry and Dott, Carter is probably the player most of the seeds wanted to avoid. Still, this affair is practically a flip of a coin. Lisowski has come a long way since his 13-1 humiliation at the hands of John Higgins in the second round last year, reaching two ranking event finals and breaking into the elite top 16 for the first time in his career. The pair has met only once before, back in 2015 when the Dude pipped Carter in a decider at the International Championship and it could very well be that close again here. Whether hes been suitably tested or not could be an interesting factor. One possible bone of contention is that, while Carter ought to be warmed up nicely following three routine wins in qualifying, the Captain didnt actually play anyone higher in the rankings than Jimmy White at number 78.

He has a wonderful safety game and his touch in and around the black spot is extremely underrated but he does tend to need some confidence to be firing on all cylinders and I would be surprised if he got any of that from his first round performance. Sometimes winning a match can free up the mind though. We know he has the game to do that. Hell need it to.

He usually delivers the goods in the second half of the season but in truth he was nothing special against Murphy, he was just fortunate that the Scottish Open finalist had a bit of a mare and never got going. I expected to see a good game from Barry Hawkins in this tournament. Hawkins will definitely need to play much better if he is to come through this match.

He usually likes to get the balls open and make big breaks. What I liked about Robertsons win in the opening round was that he won a couple of scrappy frames, and against Mark Williams those are the frames I wouldnt have given him much of a hope in. I expect him to look to do that here and pile the pressure on an opponent who could be low in confidence.

Barry Hawkins vs Li Hang

Robertson has never really threatened to add to his 2010 Crucible crown but looks to be in the best form of his life heading into this edition. The former Snooker Shoot Out champion has done well to reach this stage but one suspects that hell find himself out of his depth against Robertson, particularly if the 16-time ranking event winner maintains his current hot streak. Neil Robertson is the man in form after a run of four consecutive ranking event finals culminated in the Australian triumphing in the lucrative China Open at the start of April. Michael Georgiou represents Robertsons initial test, the latter proudly becoming the first Cypriot to ever qualify. Only Ronnie OSullivan has managed to stop the Melbourne man in his tracks of late and, with the pair in opposite sides of the 2019 draw, there could be a mouthwatering rematch of their Players Championship and Tour Championship final showdowns of last month.

Still, theres an opportunity for both of these players to reach the second round at the Crucible for the first time in their careers. Luca Brecel relied heavily on his China Championship victory from last season to remain inside the top 16 and gain one of the crucial automatic berths. The Belgian endured a terrible time after that breakthrough success but this months semi-final appearance in the China Open has provided a signal of a return to form. The last time Gary Wilson qualified he played Ronnie OSullivan so hell be thankful that he has been granted with a more realistic path into the last 16. Making his fourth bow at the Crucible, Brecel will be hoping that the obstacle of Wilson can lead to a stepping stone to greater glories in the event. In a first round draw that is full of eye-catching ties, this one is possibly not one that especially stands outs. When on his game, Brecel is a dangerous threat to anyone and its easy to forget that hes still only 24.

The Magician has lost all of his tricks and has been a constant loser in the early rounds of ranking events this season. Murphy won the Champion of Champions and reached several ranking event finals last season but since relocating to Ireland in the summer his game has been in tatters. Probably the most damning statistic is that, on the one-year rankings list, Murphy squeaks just inside the top 50 at number 48. Luo Honghao, meanwhile, is another one of the Chinese debutants and at 19 is the only teenager in the field. What has happened to Shaun Murphy? Murphy is on a bit of a hiding to nothing in this one and he could find himself in trouble if he cant stamp his authority on the contest quickly. That youthful exuberance could stand the rookie in good stead and Murphy isnt a stranger to disappointing defeats to young Chinese players, with Yan Bingtao, Zhao Xintong, and Yuan Sijun all notably taking the scalp of the 2005 world champion as inexperienced challengers in the past.