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Welsh Open day four preview: Shock results continue to occur

There have been upsets aplenty at this season’s Welsh Open with only three of the top 10 seeds still standing even though the last 16 is yet to get underway.

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump were late tournament withdrawals but Mark Williams, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy and Kyren Wilson have all endured early exits.

With Ding Junhui, Jack Lisowski, Si Jiahui and Zhang Anda also going home early, plenty will be believing they can get in on the title action.

Mark Allen is 4/1 favourite to claim the 11th ranking title of his career and he faces Robbie Williams in the third round, while 9/2 shot John Higgins takes on Matthew Selt.

Other last-16 matches from the top half of the draw in the evening session include defending champion Robert Milkins against Scottish Open winner Gary Wilson, while Anthony McGill meets Ricky Walden.

The bottom half of the draw still have to play their last 32 contests and those matches will get underway from 12:30 on Thursday.

Llandudno bringing out the best in defending champion 

Robert Milkins claimed the second ranking title of his career at the Welsh Open last season and the return to Llandudno has sparked a revival.

The Milkman has struggled to find his best form for large parts of the campaign but he is delivering in his title defence, having defeated Jamie Jones, Allan Taylor and Dave Gilbert to reach the last 16.

Milkins came through a nervy decider with Jones in his held-over qualifier but produced breaks of 140 and 83 in a 4-1 win over Taylor and then outclassed Gilbert 4-0 with knocks of 91 and 77.

With his confidence levels and scoring game restored, Milkins is a danger to all in this competition and he is an interesting outsider at 11/10 to overcome Gary Wilson, especially given he has won four of their last five meetings.

Wilson is the reigning Scottish Open champion and is a threat, but he has been pushed close by Iulian Boiko and Lisowski in his opening two matches. 

The Geordie cueman’s 4-3 win over Lisowski was a low-quality affair in which he won despite having a high break of only 57.

Walden can build on Robertson scalp 

Anthony McGill and Ricky Walden both claimed prized scalps in the last round with McGill overcoming home favourite Williams and Walden adding further misery to Robertson’s season.

However, there may be more substance to Walden’s recent form and he is the most likely of the seeded duo to back up his recent performance.

Walden reeled off breaks of 96, 69, 68 and 65 in his 4-2 win over Robertson, who had been showing signs that he may be on his way back after a spell in the doldrums.

McGill, meanwhile, capitalised on a poor performance from Williams with a high-break of 76 and he has yet to make the quarter-final of a Grand Slam all season.

Walnut, on the other hand, made the quarter-final of the Northern Ireland Open and, at 1/1, the value could be with him.

Allen finding his best form

Allen was a lucky boy to survive his qualifying win over Cao Yupeng, who threw away a 3-1 lead and missed what was virtually frame ball in a 4-3 loss.

But since then, the Pistol has turned on the style with a 4-0 win over Ma Hailong, which featured a break of 141, as well as a 4-1 victory over Si Jiahui.

Allen had been concerned by a shoulder injury after his opening win but there were no signs of that against Jiahui, with him posting knocks of 110, 76, 63 and 52.

Next up for the Northern Irishman is a showdown with Robbie Williams and he is 1/3 to seal his place in the quarter-finals.

Williams is playing well, highlighted by his earlier-round victory over Ding, but it is hard to find fault with those quotes given Allen has won 4-0 and 5-0 in two of their three previous meetings.

It is 4/6 for Allen to win this best-of-seven contest by at least two frames, which could represent the value given he is clearly finding his best form at the right time of the tournament.

Higgins unlikely to be tested

Higgins has reached the last 16 of the Welsh Open by dropping only two frames across his three wins and another easy victory should follow against Matthew Selt.

The Wizard of Wishaw made light work of home hope Ryan Day 4-1 in the last 32, a victory which was bolstered by breaks of 124, 55 and 53.

Selt, meanwhile, won his opening two games against Sam Craigie and Ross Muir despite not having a single break of over 50, which doesn’t bode well for a showdown with Higgins.

Selt will need to up his scoring game massively to be competitive and he has a horrible record to overcome against Higgins, who leads their personal series 10-5.

Higgins is 2/5 to come out on top and he is 4/5 to successfully defy a handicap of 1.5 frames.

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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