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Players Championship day three preview: Judd Trump renews Ali Carter rivalry on Wednesday

Day three of the Players Championship from the Telford International Centre features the final two first-round encounters, as well as the opening quarter-final between top seed Judd Trump and Ali Carter.

The afternoon session sees Mark Selby take on Barry Hawkins, with the winner set to face Ronnie O'Sullivan in the last eight, while Zhang Anda faces Noppon Saengkham in hope of setting up a quarter-final date with John Higgins.

The evening session plays host to only one quarter-final, but it promises to be a belter as Trump and Carter, this season’s Wuhan Open finalists, renew their rivalry.

Trump heads the outright betting at 7/4, along with O'Sullivan, while Mark Allen is 15/2 and Higgins is available at 17/2.

Carter can give Trump a scare

Trump had lost in the opening round of the Players Championship in each of the last three seasons, yet a 6-2 win over Chris Wakelin on Monday put an end to that curse.

The Ace In The Pack has won this tournament twice and is enjoying the season of all seasons, having claimed four ranking titles at the English Open, Northern Ireland Open, Wuhan Open and German Masters.

Trump has also finished runner-up at the European Masters, World Grand Prix and Champion of Champions this term, showing a consistency that is virtually impossible to emulate given the current standard of the tour.

There are bigger prizes on the horizon and how Trump would love to lift his second World Championship crown in May.

Carter is also having a fine season and this is set to be his third meeting of the campaign with Trump.

The first went the Juddernaut’s way as he toppled Carter 10-7 in the German Masters final, but the Captain got his revenge at the Masters in January, holding his nerve to edge to a 6-5 victory.

That is only one of two defeats that Trump has endured in his last 15 matches, which highlights his formidableness, and he is 3/10 to come out on top once more.

However, Carter reeled off breaks of 116, 97, 69 and 66 in his 6-2 victory over Tom Ford in round one and is unlikely to go down without a fight.

All four meetings between the pair over this best-of-11 format have lasted at least ten frames - the two most recent encounters have gone to a final-frame shootout - and it is 6/5 for this quarter-final contest to go over 9.5 frames.

Trump is likely to triumph, though, so backing him to win 6-4 and 6-5 could be a profitable exercise at 9/2 and 6/1.

Hawk has his eye on an upset

Silverware still evades Selby this season and the Jester from Leicester has a poor Players Championship record having made only one semi-final from 11 appearances in the tournament.

Having also been beaten 4-2 by world number 65 Aaron Hill in the opening round of the Welsh Open most recently, Selby looks a vulnerable favourite at 4/7 against Hawkins.

Despite being ranked 14 places lower in the world rankings, Hawkins has won seven of their last ten meetings and he should be full of confidence having had a strong start to the season.

The Hawk defeated Trump to win the European Masters earlier in the campaign and he has held his form well ever since, making the semi-final of the Northern Ireland Open and the Champion of Champions.

That is why Hawkins is seeded seventh for this tournament based on the one-year rankings while Selby is tenth and at 11/8 he could be the value play.

Anda's strong start slowing down

Few started the season in the manner of Anda, who finished runner-up at the English Open before going one better to claim his maiden ranking title at the International Championship.

Throw in a couple of quarter-final efforts, including at the UK Championship, and it is clear to see why the Chinese cueman is third on the one-year ranking list.

However, that form is starting to peter out and Anda has lost four of his seven matches in 2024, which includes a 4-1 loss to Jak Jones in the first round of the Welsh Open last time out.

Saengkham made his first ranking event final when losing 9-5 to Gary Wilson at the Scottish Open in December and he has won three of his four previous meetings with Anda, which could make odds of 13/10 represent value.

This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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