Snooker World Grand Prix betting tips: Yuan Sijun worth an outright play

World Grand Prix Tips
World Grand Prix Tips

The Coral World Grand Prix is reaching the business end of the tournament at Cheltenham Racecourse and Richard Mann can't resist an in-play bet on the outright market.

Recommended bets: Coral World Grand Prix

3pts Yuan Sijun to beat Xiao Guodong at 1/1

1pt e.w Yuan Sijun to win the Coral World Grand Prix at 20/1


The snooker season feels like it has ramped up another gear since Christmas with the Coral World Grand Prix currently taking place at Cheltenham Racecourse hot the heels of Kyren Wilson's well-deserved success at the German Masters on Sunday.

ITV can feel pleased to have secured the television rights to this one as we have been treated to some enthralling and equally high-class action on the green baize.

Wilson's dramatic defeat of veteran Matthew Stevens yesterday certainly fell into the 'enthralling' category while Mark Selby looked very good when dismantling Shaun Murphy in their clash.

Ronnie O'Sullivan's early exit at the hands of Marco Fu was undoubtedly the biggest story of the early rounds but it is the continued emergence of Yuan Sijun that has excited me most.

Sijun has looked a fine player in the making for some time now, which is a remarkable statement to make given he is still only 18 years of age, but this precocious talent is developing into a high-class operator who looks on the cusp of stardom.

Already a quarter-finalist at the China Championship this season, Sijun claimed a huge victory over John Higgins at the German Masters last week and has continued in the same vein here, displaying remarkable composure to beat reigning world champion Mark Williams 4-3 before defeating Stephen Maguire on Wednesday night.

A highly-proficient break-builder, very much in the mould of compatriot Ding Junhui, what sets Sijun apart from the rest of his age group is his temperament which looks rock solid.

It needed to be just that against Williams when losing the fifth frame on a re-spotted black having let slip a golden opportunity when leaving the Welshman needing a snooker to tie.

Nevertheless, Sijun dusted himself off to level the scores at 3-3 with a wonderful break of 131 before dominating the deciding frame to send Williams home.

What is most impressive about Sijun is that he has more than one way to skin a cat and his second-round 4-2 victory over Maguire saw him win a number of close frames when you would have fancied his more experienced adversary to have prevailed.

He looks the real deal and given his age and relative inexperience, it is fair to assume that he will continue to make rapid strides the more exposure to the big stage he gets.

A fast learner who will fancy his chances of beating fellow Chinese player Xiao Guodong in tonight's quarter-final, he has to be worth a bet each-way in the outright market at 20/1.

There might be an element of 'the horse has bolted' in my tipping Sijun at this stage, given he was 40/1 in the outright market before defeating the hugely-talented but inconsistent Maguire.

Even so, the more I look at things the more I think 20/1 is still well worth a bet given his price will contract further if he can see off Guodong, a player who beat Mark Davis in a low-quality match on Wednesday having defeating a literally off-colour Neil Roberston in the first round.

I fancy Sijun strongly to progress to the semi-finals and with plenty of snooker still to be played in his half of the draw, 20/1 could look very big at close of play tonight.

A potential last-four clash with Mark Allen would be a significant hurdle to overcome but the latter still has the likes of Ali Carter and Ding Junhui or David Gilbert to overcome first while on the other half of the draw, the aforementioned Wilson requires a huge effort to back up his recent win in Germany while Selby is still searching for consistency in his game following a barren run of form.

Given what we have seen from Sijun this season, a breakthrough success seems just a matter of time and things look to be falling nicely into place for that to happen this week.

Posted at 1000 GMT on 07/02/19.

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