After a successful punt on Ronnie O’Sullivan to win the Masters it’s time to turn our attention to this week’s German Masters, staged at the iconic Tempodrom in Berlin. First held in 1995 the tournament ran for four years before it was discontinued, but it was reinstated as a ranking tournament in 2011, as has been described by some fans as the ‘Woodstock of Snooker’.
The Temopdrom is widely regarded as one of the best venues in world snooker, with the 2,500-seat auditorium creating a superb atmosphere. The competition has a total prize pool of 367,000 euros, with the winner walking away with a cool 80,000 euros. Qualifying took place in Wigan in December, and 32 players will line up to contest the title over five days from Wednesday 3rd February to Sunday 7th.
An Open Competition?
This year’s event could well be an open competition with two of snookers biggest names both missing out after failing to get through qualifying. Neil Robertson – a quarter finalist at the recent Masters tournament – fell at the first hurdle in qualifying by going down 5-1 to Ashley Hugill. Meanwhile Ronnie O’Sullivan failed at the second qualifying round when he was outgunned by 5 frames to 3 by Stuart Carrington.
That leaves the way open for defending German Masters champion Mark Selby and the likes of Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy, and last year’s world champion Stuart Bingham to have a crack at the title.
Draw and Format
The first three rounds up to the quarter finals will be played over 9 frames, with the semi finals the best of 11 frames, and the final contested over 17 frames. The draw has pitched Mark Selby and Masters finalist Barry Hawkins together in the first quarter, while Judd Trump and Shaun Murphy compete in the second quarter alongside veteran Mark Williams. Stuart Carrington’s prize for beating Ronnie O’Sullivan is a place in the third quarter along with Mark Allen and Marco Fu, while Sturat Bingham faces the likes of Liang Wenbo and Shanghai Masters champion Kyren Wilson.
Judd the Trump Card
Since winning the Australian Open in the 2014/15 season, Trump has had a number of near misses without quite getting his nose in front. He rarely performs badly though and maintains a level of consistency that should ensure we get a good run for our money here. Since that Australian Open win he’s reached the finals of the UK Championship, the Champion of Champions tournament, and the Shanghai Masters. He’s also filled semi final berths in the Players Championship, the World Championship and most recently the Masters.
He went down 6-4 in that semi final to Barry Hawkins, but it was his defeat of Neil Robertson in the quarter final that really caught the eye. The match featured six century breaks, including Trump’s tournament high of 140, and was hailed by commentator John Virgo as one of the Masters best ever games. Even Robertson said afterwards that if it takes a performance like that to beat him, he has to hold his hands up; which is a measure of just how well Trump had played. He failed to reach those heights again when losing to Hawkins in the semi final, but is in decent form coming into this competition.
He opens against Ali Carter, and will play either Alfie Burden or Zhang Anda in the next round, if he progresses as expected. Shaun Murphy is a likely quarter final opponent, while Mark Selby or Barry Hawkins could await in a semi final, but on his day Trump is more than capable of beating any of those players. He looks to have a great chance of reaching the semi’s at least, and is a strong fancy to make his way to the final.
Wilson a Long Pot Shot
Wilson was ranked world number 54 when he took the Shanghai Masters, stunning Judd Trump in the final with a thrilling 10-9 victory, making him the lowest ranked player to win a ranking title since 2005. That helped him achieve his current position of number 22 in the world, and at 24 years of age the youngster from Kettering could have a long and fruitful career ahead of him.
He went on to reach the semi finals of the Champion of Champions tournament, and although a 2nd round exit at the International Championship and a 3rd round exit at the UK Championship are nothing to shout about, he came through qualifying for this tournament with relative ease and will be focused for another tilt at a ranking event to improve his standing within the game.
The draw has also been kind enough to give him a chance of progressing, pitching him against Rory McLeod in the first round, and should he get through, one of Ian Burns or Michael Holt in the next round. The likes of Liang Wenbo or Stuart Bingham could await in the quarter final, and while neither potential opponent should be taken lightly, neither has been in great form this season and the latter may have one eye on the defence of his title in the upcoming World Championship at the Crucible.
The obvious danger to both selections is Mark Selby, who came up against an inspired Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter final of the Masters, and has also reached the semi final of International Championship and the UK Championship this season. He’s been banging on the door and it is probably only a matter of time before he claims another ranking event, and of course he won this competition last year.
Judd Trump to win the German Masters
Wednesday 3rd February – Sunday 7th February
Kyren Wilson to win the German Masters – Each Way
Wednesday 3rd February – Sunday 7th February
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