Snookerbacker

February 3, 2015

German Masters Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:37 am
The unique set-up in  Berlin.

The unique set-up in Berlin.

Wednesday sees the start of one of the best live events of the season as the German Masters gets underway in Berlin at the magnificent Tempodrom, one of the best venues and easily the best city I have ever visited to watch snooker.

As the qualifying rounds have already taken place we are down to the final 32 who will be whittled down daily given the unique five table format in this vast arena.

The first day sees eight Last 32 matches and day two sees eight more plus four second round matches. Friday sees the other four followed by all four quarter finals, so it’s worth bearing in mind the schedule when having a bet as all the quarter finalists in the top half of the draw will be playing twice on Friday, who will this suit?

It’s Ding Junhui that goes into this as the holder, he beat Judd in the final last season and the two are again seeded to meet in the final. There are a few more unfamiliar faces in there including amateur Ashley Carty, but largely the main tour big guns have come through with the exception of the champion of two years ago Ali Carter.

It’s a shame that this event doesn’t last a bit longer as to the TV viewer it can feel a bit rushed, but when you actually attend it it’s an incredible atmosphere and always totally packed with a huge audience and plenty of facial hair and currywursts on show.

I hope it’s a great tournament and one addition to the Eurosport side of things is a studio set up, featuring none other than Ronnie O’Sullivan as a pundit, Ronnie is also in the event for the first time since he won it 3 seasons ago so he’s keeping himself busy alright, just how he likes it.

Here goes a look at each quarter from a betting point of view. You can click on each match to reveal the head to head record and the full order of play can be found here.

QUARTER ONE

Ding Junhui v Ryan Day
Michael Georgiou v Alfie Burden
Li Hang v Liang Wenbo
Matt Selt v Stuart Bingham

It has to be said that Ding, by his own high standards, is having a terrible season. Ducking out of events and being beaten early on when he does show up for the most part, he faces Ryan Day first up in another match that could easily go against him. At the moment he’s unbackable, but of course one run will change all that, this could be the week he gets going but I’m still not that confident in his chances given his lack of match sharpness. The winner of that match I’m sure will fancy their chances of making the semi-finals but the match at the bottom of this quarter could throw up a live contender. Matt Selt has started posting some impressive performances and results and his confidence is high, on the other hand this is exactly the type of competition that Stuart Bingham can go deep in. I’m not discounting the winner of the Georgiou/Burden match but it would be a surprise to see either of these two make the later stages, Liang Wenbo remains unpredictable and tends to struggle for one reason or another sometimes against lower ranked fellow countrymen, though he has beaten the dangerous Li Hang on the two occasions they have met. He’s just not consistent enough for me to consider as a live contender for a tournament as big as this. 

Predicted Quarter Winner: Ryan Day.

Tough Draw.

Tough Draw.

QUARTER TWO

Mark Allen v Mark Williams
Michael Wasley v Shaun Murphy
Joe Perry v Jimmy Robertson
Dark Mavis v Ronnie O’Sullivan

No doubt the phrase ‘the quarter of death’ would be applied to this one if it was on the BBC. All the players in the section are in decent form and it would be a brave person to plump for one with any huge degree of certainty. Ronnie obviously starts favourite and the schedule I’d say will suit him, he’s also got the media stuff to keep him occupied and he’s a big favourite over there and revels in the huge crowds, he’d be a popular winner, but make no mistake he does not have an easy draw and will need to be right on his game to win this, something he wasn’t at The Masters. Obviously eyes are drawn to the top match which pits Mark Allen and MJW, Allen has much the better of their recent tussles and can possibly set up a rematch with Masters winner Shaun Murphy assuming he comes through his not straightforward first match against Michael Wasley. Joe Perry also comes here with confidence high and form good so it’s an epic quarter this and one that could very possibly provide us with the eventual winner.

Predicted Quarter Winner: Mark Allen.

QUARTER THREE

Neil Robertson v Fergal O’Brien
Xiao Guodong v Liam Highfield
Stephen Maguire v Dave Gilbert
Mark King v Barry Hawkins

Neil Robertson was one of the players who chose to take part in the Chinese Pool event last week and we’ll see whether that was the right decision in terms of preparation for this soon enough. He faces The Ferginator, who as we know, can use his wily ways to scrape the result when he’s in the mood. If Robbo isn’t firing on all cylinders there’s plenty of others in here that can take advantage, Xiao Guodong cannot be underestimated and even dark horses Highfield, Gilbert and King could enjoy a run in this, but you have to look at the big players to make it out of this one and I’d be plumping for Stephen Maguire. He looked solid enough at The Masters when beating Judd and losing narrowly to the eventual winner. With the exception of the very different kettle of fish that is Crondon Park, Barry Hawkins looks a bit low on confidence to me lately and is another, like Ding, who will be desperate to make more of an impact in the second half of the season, I wouldn’t be surprised if King ran him very close, he tends to play his best stuff overseas these days.

Predicted Quarter Winner: Stephen Maguire.

Judd (right)

Judd (right)

QUARTER FOUR

Judd Trump v Michael Holt
Martin Gould v Ashley Carty
John Higgins v Peter Ebdon
Anthony McGill v Mark Selby

Mark Selby, pending any changes that might be made to the schedule by his mates at World Snooker, is currently due to be playing at 2pm on the opening day on Wednesday. He spent Monday in China losing in the final of the pool competition, he’s going to be knackered with little or no snooker practice and although he’s notoriously dogged and determined and enjoys huge popularity in Germany, to come here and win this so soon after playing a different game in China is some ask, it’s also reflected in his odds, which I’m sure would be shorter if he hadn’t done so well over there. Martin Gould has recovered from some health issues he had over December and January and faces surprise package amateur Carty who I’m sure will just be delighted to be there. Higgins and Ebdon have had some battles in the past and it’s Ebbo that has had the better of their most recent tussles. Higgins is probably still scratching his head wondering how he lost to Mark Allen in The Masters given how well he played, that could be a very close one and Higgins did at least show signs that he’s not quite done winning yet in London. The winner of that one could well be a dark horse, which sounds daft seeing as they are both world champions and multiple ranking winners. Judd chose not to go to the pool and instead comes here presumably fresh and prepped to face Michael Holt. He whitewashed The Hitman here last season and I fancy him to have a decent run in this again following a disappointing Masters.

Predicted Quarter Winner: Judd Trump

Recommended Outright Bets: 3 points on Judd Trump at 8/1. 2 points each way on Mark Allen at 20/1. 0.5 point each way on Peter Ebdon at 100/1.

Recommended Other Bet: 1 point on Ryan Day to win Quarter 1 at 8/1.

Recommended Match Bets: 2 points on McGill to beat Selby at 7/2. 2 points on King to beat Hawkins at 3/1. 2 points on Day to beat Ding at 12/5.

Recommended Acca: 2 point acca on Gould, Trump, Maguire, Perry and Allen pays just on 10/3.

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