Snookerbacker

September 8, 2019

Shanghai Masters Preview

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 12:07 pm

Ronnie defends his title in his first outing this season

It’s been a barren summer on the baize, which to be honest as a fan and an unashamed traditionalist, suits me down to the ground, but for players, particularly lower down the rankings, it’s been a bit of a blow to their earning capability, so much so that some of them have been claiming they are now once more, part-time players. 

In the past by this time of year they’d be chalking up and getting ready for the ranking events, but not this time around. After the mysterious and secretive invite handouts for the Paul Hunter Classic recently, we’re now treated to an invitational event containing the top 16 players in the world and some handpicked Chinese players, in this former ranking event in Shanghai.

It seems a long time since we saw anything in terms of rankers and last week a few of the top boys were invited to the Six Reds in Thailand for their annual piss up. Stephen Maguire ended up winning it, someone might have to remind him of that at some point when he gets home given his reputation as one of the hardened drinkers on the tour alongside his fellow Scot and finalist John Higgins. In fact given that these two also carried off the World Cup at the start of the season it’s been a very successful start for the pair of them, they both line up here again this week.

The only ‘real’ event of the season so far saw Judd Trump make a winning debut as World Champion at the International Championship beating a resurgent Shaun Murphy in the final. Murphy spent last year trying to hit a barn door with a shovel and missing, but whatever he did in the break between The Crucible and that tournament appears to have got him back into the groove, just in time to maybe try and save his top 16 place, which was beginning to look quite perilous.

Ronnie O’Sullivan seems to always enjoy himself in Shanghai and he seems to have been out there for a quite a while ahead of his title defence this week. He’s been photographing all the food he is eating, he’s been swimming with and cuddling Liang Wenbo and he looks to have fully engrossed himself in the Chinese culture. Of course he famously once claimed that China had ‘got it right’ and was the ‘best country in the world’, I’m not sure how that fits with his socialist beliefs in workers rights and I presume he is not a fan of boiling dogs alive in a pot to eat them, but it’s not the first time that The Rocket would have opened his gob before engaging Mr Brain.

Anyway, to the snooker. It’s usually a cracking watch this and Eurosport as usual is the place to be for the Chinese events. At time of writing the wildcards have only just been announced as Zhang Yi, Cao Jin, Wu Yize and Zhao Jianbo, however we still don’t know who they are playing as this will be decided at the party they have to open the event.

The rest of the draw can be viewed on the usual World Snooker ‘my first PDF’ here and the format here and it’s fair to say that once the wildcard matches are out of the way every match will have two familiar faces competing. The novelty also where Shanghai is concerned is that people ACTUALLY TURN UP TO WATCH! So that’s a bonus and perhaps a lesson to the authorities that perhaps it might be a better idea to hold events in major cities than in the arse end of nowhere.

I’ll probably have the odd bet here and there on this with them being decent length matches, indeed if you think this will go according to seedings and Ronnie and Judd are set for a showdown in the final, there are a few specials at Ladbrokes that are worth your attention, highlighted below.

So enjoy the event, it’s not a ranker which is a bummer for a lot of players, but in terms of a spectacle it usually delivers a decent week of snooker for the armchair fans.

Recommended Bets: Specials at Ladbrokes – O’Sullivan and Trump Final, both hit 5 tons in the tournament and a final of over 18.5 frames 12/1, same bet with 6 tons each 20/1, same with 7 tons each 28/1. Will there be a tournament 147? Yes @ 9/4. Each way to win outright on Yan Bingtao @160/1 and Lyu Haotian @250/1.

   

 

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