This, of course, emphasises just how closely matched the players in this tournament are. In fact, the two games where an upset could have been predicted - Ricky Walden against Michael Holt and Barry Hawkins’ match with rising star Jack Lisowski - were surprisingly one-sided in favour of the seeded player. On the other hand, few predicted that former champion John Higgins would be ousted by Mark Davis, or that two other Marks, seeds Williams and Allen, would fall either.
Meanwhile, fifth seed Stephen Maguire is, at the time of writing, just one frame away from losing to world number 70 Dechawat Poomjaeng, whilst unseeded Marco Fu has a three frame lead over Matthew Stevens.
All of which is very good news for the top four seeds. Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan had a comfortable 10-4 win in his opening game but will be tested more by last year’s beaten finalist Ali Carter in the next round. Fourth seed Judd Trump, however, will benefit greatly if Stevens does go out as Fu will then become his next opponent. Trump has looked edgy at the table since becoming world number one, but seemed more at ease in taking a three frame lead over Dominic Dale and will not be too unhappy to face Fu next time up.
In the bottom half of the drawer the two big seeds have yet to really get going, with Mark Selby (seeded 2) only a couple of frames into his game with Matthew Selt and third seed Neil Robertson second last to start when he takes on qualifier Robert Milkins. Victory would give Robertson a tricky little tie against Walden, but then it would be the winner of White v Poomjaeng for a place in the last four. Which leaves Selby as probably the only seed not to benefit in some way from one of the first round upsets, as victory over Selt would lead him into a tie with Hawkins and then in all probability Ding Junhui.
Of course, it is very early days yet in this competition, but with O’Sullivan’s odds only shortening (currently 100/30 with BetVictor) and Selby perhaps facing the toughest route to the final, the odds very much favour backing Robertson at 11/2 with Stan James or Trump at 6/1 with BetVictor. At this stage I’d avoid backing either Selby (6/1) or Ding (13/2) with my sports picks, not only because they’ll have to play one another, but because both are in the more difficult quarter of the draw now and therefore those betting odds just look too short to me.