July 18, 2017

The Hong Kong Masters

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 9:12 am

Marco will be sporting his massive watch during the event.

It’s a new event on the calendar this week, though rumours I am hearing are that it’s a strictly one-year only affair as the crème brûlée of the snooker world jet to Hong Kong for the invitational Hong Kong Masters which sees 7 of the world’s top 8 players in action alongside bums on seats man Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The bad news is that the coverage of this in terms of TV seems to be severely restricted, which is a shame as apparently it’s a huge deal over there and a sell-out, with tickets trading on the black market at many times their face value, kind of like if Viagogo ever got let out onto the streets.

Crowd favourite will undoubtedly be Marco Fu, the local man has been described this week as the greatest ‘athlete’ that Hong Kong has ever produced. ‘Athlete’ is a little misleading as anyone who knows Marco or has witnessed him around venues would probably describe him as more of a chilled out tortoise than a frantic hare, but it’s a good headline.

The one player from the top 8 who is missing is Ding Junhui. Ding commands a fee of around £85,000 for appearances in China and Hong Kong and this by all accounts proved too steep for the organisers who told him where he could shove his appearance fee. But it’s still a stellar line up playing in front of presumably humungous crowds so it’s a shame that we can’t get to watch it as I love a good invitational tournament to break up from the sardinefests so prevalent of late.

Anyway, a list of the players and the matches are detailed below. I think as an interest you could do worse than take a punt on Marco rising to the occasion at a fairly generous 11/1, with Ronnie at 5/1 an attractive proposition too considering Mark Selby is playing his first tournament back from nearly losing a toe by dropping something heavy on it, presumably his wallet. Ronnie as we know thrives in the invitationals with the big crowds and I wouldn’t put it past him tottering off with the trophy and first prize here after putting on a show for the adoring fans. Anyway it all kicks off on Thursday.

• Current World Champion and world number one – Mark Selby
• Four-time World Champion and world number two – John Higgins
• 2017 Players Championship winner and world number three – Judd Trump
• 2017 World Grand Prix winner and world number five – Barry Hawkins
• Former World Champion and world number seven – Neil Robertson
• Former World Champion and world number eight – Shaun Murphy
• Five-time World Champion – Ronnie O’Sullivan
• Hong Kong’s top player and world number six – Marco Fu

First round draw (all times are UK time):

Best of 9 Frames

Barry Hawkins v Marco Fu (July 20th at 7am)
Mark Selby v Neil Robertson (July 20th at 12 noon)

Judd Trump v Shaun Murphy (July 21st at 7am)
Ronnie O’Sullivan v John Higgins (July 21st at 12 noon)

Semi Finals and Final are Best of 11 Frames.

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