Snooker World Championship Preview: Noppon 11/2 For Robertson Scalp

A preview of Wednesday’s matches at the World Championships in Sheffield.

Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham is 11/2 to repeat his China Open victory over Neil Robertson when they meet in the first round of the World Championships.

Noppon claimed the scalp of the Australian left-hander with a 5-3 success on his way to the quarter-finals in 2016 – his best performance in a ranking event.

The 24-year-old, in his first appearance at the Crucible, is now targeting another surprise as Robertson aims to avoid exiting at the first hurdle for the second successive year.

Robertson, who is 1/9 to advance, was beaten 10-6 by Michael Holt last April and Noppon is 45/1 to produce victory by the same scoreline.

After becoming the first Australian to win the World Championship in 2010, Robertson has endured mixed fortunes since.

He has bowed out in the first round on three occasions as well as progressing to the semi-final once and the last eight two times.

Robertson is 14/1 to be crowned world champion again and 21/10 to go as far as the semi-finals, which is a tempting bet.

Also starting their first-round matches on Wednesday are Barry Hawkins, who faces Tom Ford, while Ryan Day meets Xiao Guodeng.

Hawkins, the 2013 runner-up, is 21/100 to beat qualifier Ford (100/30) and 11/4 to reach at least the semi-finals.

The World Grand Prix champion has won four of their six meetings and 5/4 for there to be under 15.5 frames appeals here.

Day (11/20) should be too strong for Xiao (29/20). The Welshman came out on top when they last met in the quarter-final of the German Masters in 2014.