The omens are not good for the two underdogs in today’s Northern Ireland Trophy semi-finals in Belfast.
Dave Harold has played John Higgins nine times and beaten him only once.
Ali Carter has played Ronnie O’Sullivan nine times and never beaten him.
That said, neither Higgins nor O’Sullivan have been at their consistent best so far during the tournament.
O’Sullivan could well have lost to Barry Hawkins last night. At 3-0 and 4-1 up he was in control but Hawkins fought back superbly to force a deciding frame.
As has often been the case in his career, O’Sullivan grew frustrated when things started to go against him.
But as I said on commentary, it’s hard to keep your emotions in check when you’re an emotional person.
And Ronnie kept his composure well in the end to clinch victory after Hawkins had failed to take his chances.
Carter is very confident having reached the Crucible final last season but let’s not forget that he played O’Sullivan at the Waterfront Hall last year and Ronnie made five centuries in the five frames he won against him.
Harold is capable of beating Higgins but the Scot is a patient player with a good all round game and is not likely to worry too much if the contest gets bogged down.
An O’Sullivan-Higgins final would certainly be a great way to start the new ranking tournament season.
Only Carter and Harold can stop that happening now.