I’m just back from Sheffield…
This is the draw and it’s fair to say that Ronnie has got possibly the hardest opponent he could get. Yes, he has a good head to head against Maguire, but whilst Maguire comes here on the back of three wins, knowing that he’s playing well and assured to get at least £18000 in money and ranking points, Ronnie like the other seeds, will be cold and with everything to lose should he be beaten.
Mark Selby also got a hard draw: Joe Perry is a hard match player with all the experience in the world. Mark Selby played well in the China Open, so he’s probably in fine form but… earlier this season he defended the International Championship (again in China) and everyone thought that he was back on tracks, only to slump again to a rather poor level by his own standards for most of the rest of the season. So it will be interesting to see how he plays on Saturday.
I will probably write a more comprehensive preview tomorrow… but for now it’s good nigh!