Richard Mann previews the International Championship in China where Mark Selby will bid to claim the hugely-valuable prize for the third year in a row.
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Mark Selby has established quite the love affair with the International Championship having defeated Mark Allen in last year's final following his victory in China back in 2016.
Despite struggling for his best form in the last couple of tournaments - meeting defeat in the last 64 in the English Open most recently - Selby tasted victory as recently as September when beating John Higgins in the final of the China Championship.
He still appears somewhere short of his brilliant best of a few years back but endured a frustrating campaign last term yet was still able to come good for this tournament.
Given his strong overall record in Asia, he has to come under serious consideration but bookmakers have taken no chances with quotes of 4/1 and his inconsistent recent form is enough to put me off at that sort of price.
Ronnie O'Sullivan has again opted against the trip to China as he gears up towards another tilt at the UK Championship and as such, there is every chance we could see another big-priced winner.
Last week's English Open victor Stuart Bingham is 22/1 with Sky Bet and that looks fair enough given how well in played in Crawley and the confidence he appears to have in his game at present.
There are more titles to be won for him this season but it is a tall order to win back-to-back tournaments and he faces the dangerous Eden Sharav in the first round in China.
Last year's runner-up Mark Allen looks to be struggling with his game and is readily opposed, as is an out of sorts Shaun Murphy.
With Mark Williams insisting his game will remain short of its best while he continues to devote too little time to the practice table, he is hard to support while 8/1 looks about right for home hope Ding Junhui despite his promising early-season results.
Judd Trump has looked very good at times this season but his promising English Open run was brought to a halt by Ryan Day in Crawley and the Welshman looks too big for outright glory at 22/1.
Day has always been a huge talent but he had failed to scale the heights he had seemed destined for until enjoying a watershed season last term, winning the Riga Masters before lifting the Tour Championship and Romanian Masters in a fine end to the campaign.
A heavy scorer who is one of the most dangerous potters in the game when on song, Day is very much a confidence player and the last few tournaments suggest he is coming nicely to the boil now.
Quarter-final finishes at the Shanghai Masters, European Masters and English Open have served notice that he has his game in good working order and his defeat of Trump in Crawley saw him produce a stellar display which included breaks of 136, 132, 83 and 52.
As such, I'm surprised to see him as big as 11/2 to win the second quarter given Trump is the 2/1 market leader in that market and Day is worth supporting to enjoy another good week.
In the fourth quarter, Ali Carter makes plenty of appeal at 13/2 to make it through to the last four.
Carter is one of the more experienced players on the tour and his battling qualities on and off the table are well known, helping him overcome two bouts of cancer and win four ranking titles.
A defeat of Ronnie O'Sullivan at last year's World Championship confirms he remains capable of mixing it with the very best and he has shown enough in recent weeks to suggest he can be a threat in China.
Despite losing 5-2 to eventual winner Bingham at the English Open, there was very little to separate the pair for long periods of that quarter-final match and he lost another close game in the European Masters previously.
Carter made the last eight of this tournament 12 months ago and with likes of Williams and Allen sitting in his quarter, there are certainly plenty of question marks surrounding his most immediate challengers.
A season rarely goes by without Carter going very deep in a major tournament and there were enough signs in Crawley to suggest that a big run from the 50/1 outright chance is imminent.
Posted at 1140 BST on 26/10/18.