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World Snooker Championship last 16 tips: Jack Lisowski backed to seal quarter-final spot

The World Snooker Championship delivered plenty of drama in the opening round and Thursday sees the beginning of the last 16, with Aaron Ashley from the Racing Post on hand to provide his best bets across those eight encounters.

World Championship

Aaron Ashley’s World Snooker Championship last 16 tips

Jack Lisowski -1.5 frames on the handicap v Stuart Bingham 4/5
Over 21.5 frames in Joe O'Connor v Kyren Wilson 8/11
Over 3.5 centuries in Stephen Maguire v Shaun Murphy

Setting the scene….

The seeds have been dropping like flies in the early stages of the World Championship, with no less than eight of the top 16 seeing the exit door at the first hurdle.

Reigning champion Luca Brecel, four-time Crucible hero Mark Selby and recent Tour Championship winner Mark Williams are the biggest casualties to fall, which highlights how dangerous the qualifiers can be once sealing their spot in Sheffield.

Four of those 16 matches went to a deciding frame, showing the competitive nature of the event, although the format now steps up from best-of-19 to a best-of-25 which should separate the strong from the weak.

Jack Lisowski -1.5 frames on the handicap v Stuart Bingham 4/5

Jack Lisowski showed serious quality in his nail-biting 10-9 win over Ding Junhui in the opening round, regaining all composure for the deciding frame having watched his opponent fight back from 9-7.

On the whole, it has been a miserable campaign for Jackpot, but all will be forgotten if he seals his spot in the quarter-final of the Crucible.

Aaron Ashley’s Tip

It was unknown where Lisowski’s game was prior to qualifying but he breezed past Liu Hongyu 10-4 before an even more convincing 10-3 victory over Matthew Stevens, where he enjoyed breaks of 137, 100, 80, 77, 76 and 73.

That scoring power continued against Ding, a contest which featured 16 breaks of 50-plus, and he warrants being a strong favourite against Bingham.

Ball-Run has had a poor season, too, with the 2015 Crucible champion also needing qualifying to get through to the main draw at Sheffield.

Bingham made harder work of it though, coming from 7-3 down to edge past Stuart Carrington in a decider and then was pushed all the way in a 10-8 win over Louis Heathcote.

Bingham’s 10-5 victory over Gary Wilson reads well on paper but, having led 5-1, his opponent pulled it back to 6-5 before letting him off the hook with some unforgivable misses.

Lisowski, who beat Bingham 10-7 in their only World Championship encounter in 2017, won’t be so generous and looks to be playing well enough to record a success by two or more frames.

Over 21.5 frames in Joe O'Connor v Kyren Wilson 8/11

Kyren Wilson made extremely light work of Dominic Dale in his Crucible curtain-raiser, recording an emphatic 10-1 win to lay down his title marker.

Wilson is a bit of a Sheffield specialist, having made the quarter-final in six of the last eight years which includes a runner-up effort to Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2020.

The Warrior starts a strong favourite for his last-16 showdown with Joe O'Connor, but underestimate the Leicester cueman at your peril.

Aaron Ashley’s Tip

Despite being a Crucible debutant, O'Connor showed no signs of nerves in his opening-round win over four-time champion Selby.

The 28-year-old looked in complete control of his emotions in that 10-6 win over Selby, a good friend and mentor of his also hailing from Leicester.

O'Connor, solid in all departments of the game, had breaks of 122, 101, 74, 67 and 61 and it is difficult to envisage him being overawed by the occasion.

So, with Wilson having not had his best of campaigns, it won’t be a cakewalk for him and going over the total frames is the approach to take.

Over 3.5 centuries in Stephen Maguire v Shaun Murphy 5/6

This has the makings of a high-scoring encounter between two players with an aggressive style of play that favour break-building over tactical battles.

Given this is now played over a best-of-25 format, it is surprising to see the handicap line at 3.5 with this quite comfortably a contest that could go close to the distance.

Aaron Ashley’s Tip

Maguire had seven breaks of 50-plus in his 10-7 win over Ali Carter in the opening round, posting breaks of 134 and 114, while Murphy had eight breaks of 50-plus in his 10-5 victory over Lyu Haotian, with knocks of 111, 90 and 81 his personal highlights.

In qualifying, Maguire had five centuries across his two wins over Ashley Hugill and Yuan Sijun, showing himself to be in excellent light, while Murphy’s performances have been clearly peaking towards a tilt at another World Championship title.

These two players evidently compliment one another’s games well and it should be a captivating contest featuring a barrage of big breaks.

Aaron Ashley’s World Snooker Championship last-16 tips

Jack Lisowski -1.5 frames on the handicap v Stuart Bingham 4/5
Over 21.5 frames in Joe O'Connor v Kyren Wilson 8/11
Over 3.5 centuries in Stephen Maguire v Shaun Murphy

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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