Higgins on cue for Wuxi Classic

  • By: Jeff Anderson
  • Last Updated: June 16 2013, 11:10 BST

Jeff Anderson is backing John Higgins and his new cue in the Wuxi Classic.

Higgins: Worth a bet
Higgins: Worth a bet

The Wuxi Classic gets under way on Monday from Wuxi city in China. It is the first major ranking tournament of the new season and the first with the new qualifying system for most major ranking events where the top 16 start with everyone else in the last 128.

Mark Selby was the first high profile casualty of this new system losing in the opening qualifying round which was played last month.

John Higgins comes here on the back of a superb performance to win the Bulgarian Open last weekend and has been priced up at a very generous 12/1 (Ladbrokes).

The Scot beat Ronnie O'Sullivan in the semi final when the Rocket was looking odds on to win the event. Although O'Sullivan was desperately unlucky to pot the blue and black in the same shot when about to go 3-0 up in the best of seven match. Higgins then potted the big pressure and difficult blue and stayed on the pink to make it 2-1. Then ran out a 4-2 winner.

The Scot is reasonably drawn - but could meet Judd Trump in the last 16 if they both make it through. It must be said here that the prices are automatically longer because the seeded players have to play an extra round at the venue compared to starting out in the last 32.

Trump is not without a chance but Higgins who changed his cue after the World Championship made a point of thanking his Scottish cue maker in his post match interview after winning in Sofia. In the latter stages of the event he looked as clinical and as solid as he was at his best. Really top value and in my opinion he should be favourite here although Neil Robertson heads the market at 11/2.

Robert Milkins is another player who is turning things around. After a well documented extended period struggling with motivation he is now settled in his personal life and it shows in his snooker.

He played brilliantly to beat Robertson in the opening round in Sheffield and has been clearly helped by his coach Terry Griffiths who is the best in the business. Currently at his highest ever ranking of 18 he should account for John Astley in his opener here but then faces a tricky match against current title holder Ricky Walden.

But he is in the easiest half of the draw and it can then open up for him. The Gloucester player is clearly worth a saver each-way at 66/1 (general).

Ali Carter was one of the three players along with Trump and Barry Hawkins who managed to threaten O'Sullivan at the Crucible. In the second round he came back from 6-3 down to 7-7 before the Rocket pulled away to win 13-8.

This showed not only how well Carter was cueing but also his form and belief and he has won in China before - lifting the Shanghai Masters in 2010. He comes here well drawn starting out against Alfie Burden and the 20/1 each -way (BetVictor, youwin) is also worth a saver.

  • Preview posted at 1100 BST on 16/06/2013.