As the last 32 begins in the morning, one match that the eyes of the world will be on more than all the other matches is Ronnie O’Sullivan V Kurt Maflin in the International Championships, China.
Believe it or not, both of these players are in similar form judging by the first round matches. There is little doubt that the Ronnie O’Sullivan v Kurt Maflin match will be closer than most would expect it to be.
Kurt Maflin is a very accomplished snooker player who has struggled to find consistency but he has a very similar game to Ronnie. For example, Kurt likes to attack the table yet he is more than capable of good safety play.
At the moment though, O’Sullivans A game is just not there. He is clearly struggling periodically in amongst the balls, losing position every now and then, thus not making as many frame winning breaks as we normally see from him. On a positive note, O’Sullivan has one of the best safety games there is which forces opponents to make mistakes. It’s his B game that still makes him a formidable opponent.
Normally we see Ronnie hammering lower ranked players, but the start of this season has been a different story for the Rocket. A lot of the matches he has played have been quite close. For this reason we believe O’Sullivan will win against Kurt, but it will be a hard fight.
For British and Irish viewers, the Ronnie O’Sullivan v Kurt Maflin match will start at 1.30pm local time and will be shown on Eurosport.
The other pick match we will be watching closely is Neil Robertson v Anthony Hamilton. Neil is not in great form recently so it will be interesting to see how he fairs out against the sheriff of pottingham.