The opening second round match and the second meeting of the season between John Higgins and Kurt Maflin. Maflin took that 5-3 in Guangzhou at the China Championship but this will be a different kettle of fish, in Maflin’s first best-of-25 and three session match in his career. This is John’s 37th and he’s won just shy of 70% of them in his career. At the Crucible, his record is won 25, lost 11, with just six second round defeats from 21.
Pro Ben Woollaston who I message a lot, sent me a screenshot of the table in the qualifiers when Joe O’Connor led Maflin 5-4 and was prime in the balls at nearly 50 up. How he missed I’ll never know (cost me a 11/4 not to qualify treble!) so maybe it became somewhat of a ‘free shot’ against Selt in the final round (won 10-1) and why he played so freely against David Gilbert in the first round. Had he lost to O’Connor, he’d of won £0. That 6-5 victory guaranteed him £10,000, and the Selt one £20,000.