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Welsh Open day two preview: Jack Lisowski looks vulnerable

The opening day of the Welsh Open delivered some shock results as Shaun Murphy and Ali Carter were two top seeds to be sent packing from Venue Cymru in Llandudno on Monday.

Murphy was beaten 4-3 in his held-over qualifier by Barry Pinches while Carter came crashing down in a 4-1 defeat against Elliott Slessor.

Other top-ranked players Mark Allen, Kyren Wilson and Luca Brecel all had to survive a deciding frame before sealing their place in the next round, so nothing can be taken for granted over this shorter best-of-seven format.

With leading lights Judd Trump and Ronnie O’Sullivan withdrawing prior the event, this could be a golden opportunity for someone to get in on the action of claiming a ranking title.

Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, John Higgins, Ding Junhui, Mark Williams, Allen and Wilson are seven players still involved that will believe they can challenge for the silverware.

There are 20 last-64 contests scheduled for Tuesday and we have taken a look at some of those encounters in depth in hope of unyielding some potential value.

Lisowski looking vulnerable 

Jack Lisowski is one of England’s top talents but he is going through a tricky period and a first ranking event title still evades him.

Jack-pot is seeded 16th in Wales but recent performances have been way below that level, which includes in Monday’s 4-2 qualifying win over Oliver Brown.

Prior to that, Lisowski had lost three matches on the spin and, while he is unlikely to slip-up at 1/7 against first-round opponent Liam Pullen, the success may not be as smooth as the prices suggest.

Pullen, at 18 years of age, is still relatively inexperienced on the main tour but he has already had some decent results, most notably when defeating former world champion Stuart Bingham 5-1 in German Masters qualification in December.

This year, Pullen has suffered 5-2 defeats to Hossein Vafaei in World Open qualifying and to Sam Craigie in the German Masters, but those efforts show he can take frames off of leading professionals.

It is a first career meeting between these players but Lisowski’s attack-minded game should allow Pullen plenty of scoring opportunities, which makes 5/6 about him winning at least two frames a shade of value.

Allen has a point to prove

Allen can count himself fortunate to still be involved in the tournament having found himself 3-1 down to Cao Yupeng before being well behind in the deciding frame.

But the Pistol lives to fight another day, although he should not take the challenge of Ma Hailong lightly.

On the back of that hard-fought win over Yupeng, Allen cited a bad shoulder for his poor performance and that should fill his young Chinese rival with plenty of confidence.

Hailong reeled off breaks of 107, 84 and 83 in a 4-2 win over Rory Thor in qualifying and he was far from disgraced when losing 6-2 to Allen at the International Championship in September.

The Northern Irishman isn’t in the same form at present and, while he is unlikely to be beaten at 1/12, Hailong appeals at 6/5 to claim at least two frames.

Zhengyi should build on German Masters run

Fan Zhengyi and Ben Mertens did battle in the last 64 of the German Masters and the Chinese player triumphed 5-3, courtesy of breaks of 60, 54 and 53.

Zhengyi went on to make the quarter-final at the Tempodrom in Berlin, beating Ishpreet Singh Chadha and Tom Ford before bumping into Kyren Wilson.

The 23-year-old was keeping sharp in the Championship League last week so he is fancied to frank that recent form with Mertens, who is ranked 40 places below in the world rankings.

Zhengyi is 4/9 to triumph but he is 5/6 to successfully give up a handicap start of 1.5 legs, meaning if he wins by two frames or more the bet is a winner.

Wakelin a favourite worth taking on

Chris Wakelin was beaten 5-3 by Andrew Pagett in the German Masters last time out and he is a favourite worth opposing when he takes on Martin O’Donnell on Tuesday evening.

Wakelin has come on leaps and bounds in recent seasons but that is a poor result against an average player in Pagett, with the Rugby cueman failing to deliver at odds of 1/11.

O’Donnell, despite his declining world ranking of 76, remains capable and at the back end of last season he highlighted his qualities with wins over the likes of Brecel, Higgins and Selby.

The head-to-head stands at one win apiece so perhaps there could be value in siding with O’Donnell at 13/8.

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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