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German Masters 2014 - Discussion

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  • German Masters 2014 - Discussion

    So, the German Masters starts tomorrow...

    I guess it's fair to say this isn't among my favourite major events, mainly because it's only five days, so it's not really a "snooker week". Also, there is usually only coverage of the main table, no matter how early the match finishes, even though it would be quite easy to just point the cameras at another table.

    The atmosphere can be a bit weird as well, with the main table the furthest away from the audience. I always get the feeling no one in the arena is actually watching the televised match, but maybe that's just me. It's always great for the final though, even though it looks like the audience might need binoculars to see the table.

    At first glance, the draw looks a little unbalanced this time. Let's see...

    Quarter 1:

    Allister Carter v. Dechawat Poomjaeng
    Xiao Guodong v. Jimmy White
    Jamie Burnett v. Ratchayothin Yotharuck
    Aditya Mehta v. Joel Walker

    Stuart Bingham v. Peter Lines
    Michael White v. Anthony Hamilton
    Ryan Day v. Cao Xinlong
    Barry Hawkins v. Li Hang

    The top quarter is fairly weak here, without any really big names. Ali Carter is the top seed, as defending champion, but he isn't really one of the tournament favourites this time. He hasn't appeared at the business end of any major tournament this season and has dropped down the rankings a bit as a result, so he missed out on the Masters for the first time in quite a few years. He has also had to miss a couple of events because of poor health in recent times, and of course that hasn't helped his ranking either. So you could say a healthy Carter is better than his current status in the game suggests, so he should be the favourite to reach the quarter-finals from this part of the draw. His toughest opponents here were supposed to be Robert Milkins and Martin Gould, but they both lost in qualifying, so the draw has opened up somewhat. Still, there are two of this season's ranking finalists here. Xiao Guodong took advantage of playing at home a lot in the first part of the season, reaching the final in Shanghai and playing quite well in the International Championship as well, where he came up against a very strong Marco Fu. I was worried his results would drop in this part of the season where most of the events are in Europe, but his form in the UK Championship was quite reassuring, unlucky again to come up against an in-form Trump and lose in a high-quality match, with five centuries made between them. Carter against Xiao could potentially be one of the better matches of the early rounds, their first-ever meeting, if I'm not mistaken. Aditya Mehta is an interesting player as well, the runner-up in the Indian Open, but that result impresses me less than Xiao's, because it was only a short-format tournament after all. He has done nothing before or since, but this is a favourable draw and a chance to get a couple of wins. Anyone else going through here would be a bit of a surprise, although Jamie Burnett is a former ranking finalist as well. There is also Dechawat Poomjaeng, still looking for the kind of form that saw him shine in the WC, particularly against Maguire in the 1st round.

    Stuart Bingham and Barry Hawkins are the favourites for the other quarter-final spot. Both have been playing really well over the last couple of seasons, and they now find themselves around that 8th spot in the rankings, but they haven't actually played each other in a major match for some time. Bingham has been one of the in-form players recently, reaching the final of the Champion of Champions event and the semi-finals of the UK, but he was out of sorts in the Masters. Hawkins also played well in the UK, losing 6-5 to Selby in the quarter-finals, and he was even better earlier in the season, when he reached the semi-finals in Shanghai. He lost to Ricky Walden in the Masters, even though he was in command for most of the match and played superbly early on. Last year he was a semi-finalist in Germany, so this just might be his time of the season again. He plays Li Hang in the 1st round, a slightly tricky opponent who played quite well in the UK last month. Ryan Day is also here, a quarter-finalist in the International Championship this season, and of course a very experienced player who is no stranger to the business end of tournaments, especially those outside of the UK. He did lose to Hawkins in Shanghai this season though. Anthony Hamilton is another potential dangerman here, also a ranking quarter-finalist this season, in Wuxi, where he beat both Day and Bingham on his way, so he will like this draw. But unfortunately his good tournaments are very rare these days. Michael White will also be interesting to see... Like Jamie Jones the season before, he hasn't really been able to build on his WC success, apart from a good run in India, but there is still time of course, and his home tournament is only a few weeks away.

    Quarter 2:

    Ding Junhui v. Mike Dunn
    Mark Williams v. David Morris
    Dominic Dale v. Steve Davis
    John Higgins v. Gerard Greene

    Mark Allen v. Anthony McGill
    Joe Perry v. Luca Brecel
    Tom Ford v. Kurt Maflin
    Mark Selby v. Jimmy Robertson

    Compared to the first quarter, this one is ridiculously strong. Ding Junhui is the man to beat in the first section, one of the players of the season so far, with three successive ranking titles a couple of months ago. He has had a pretty quiet period since, losing in a somewhat unspectacular way to Ricky Walden in the UK, followed by a really nervy performance against Murphy in the Masters, a match he should never have lost. He will need a return to form here, because he probably has to beat two great players just to reach the quarter-finals. First there is Mark Williams, a former winner of this event and a real master of playing abroad. He doesn't really have any great results in the major events this season, but he did win the PTC in Rotterdam, beating Selby in the final. Unfortunately his form in recent seasons has become reminiscent of Hendry's later years, playing good single matches here and there, rather than good tournaments as a whole, and that's why we don't see him at the business end much anymore. He's had a couple of good wins over Ding in major matches in the past, but he hasn't beaten him for a few years now, so that could be tough for him. It will also be interesting to see what John Higgins can do here. A finalist in Wuxi this season, but apart from that he has mostly struggled, although I thought he played quite well in the Masters at times. He was quite optimistic after his 1st round win, but then the loss to Selby left him quite frustrated, understandably of course, because he really should have won that match. He said in one of the interviews that he finally feels happy with the technical side of his game again, and if that is really the case he could be a strong contender again. He too has struggled against Ding in recent years, but the last time they've played in anything longer than best-of-7 Higgins did win 5-0, in the World Open last season. Higgins against Williams would be a good one as well of course, but the odds are against it at this point in time. Dominic Dale also deserves a mention, a great performance to win the shoot-out last weekend, but of course this is a different ball game, and the shoot-out winners have never really followed it up with a good run in Germany. Dale just might be the exception though, usually a good traveller and used to live in Berlin as well. Two more players not to be underestimated, David Morris, who reached the quarter-finals in Wuxi, although he didn't have anywhere near as tough a draw as he has here, and Gerard Greene, who reached a PTC final earlier in the season, losing to Ronnie O'Sullivan.

    Mark Selby is the man to beat in the second section of this quarter. He has had a very consistent season, reaching the business end of a lot of tournaments, but he hasn't actually won anything bigger than a PTC event. Last season he won the UK and the Masters titles with his B-game, and this season he wasn't far away from repeating that, losing in the final of both tournaments. The difference of course was that his final opponents produced a good performance this time, and Selby really needed to play better to compete with that. Is his best form still coming this season? Well, on paper, he should have a couple of easier rounds to play himself into the tournament here. The last time he played Jimmy Robertson in a major match he won 10-1, in the 1st round of the WC in 2011. I remember that match because Robertson annoyed me by not playing on for snookers when he had a good chance. (yes, I will keep mentioning that whenever I see his name in the draw ) The last16 match here could be a good one. Joe Perry is the favourite to reach that stage on this season's form. He has appeared at the business end of tournaments this season more times than ever, and he still seems to be playing well. It took a strong Neil Robertson to beat him in the UK, and a very strong Maguire to beat him in the Masters. Mark Allen could also be very dangerous, as always, but he will probably need to raise his game a bit. He basically scraped through to the quarter-finals of the UK, where he lost to Ricky Walden, and he had a very disappointing loss to Robertson in the Masters, in a match where he was in front all the way. He played Perry in the last16 of the International Championship this season, Perry prevailed 6-4 in a high-quality match, so that could be a good one. Other contenders? Well, Anthony McGill was a quarter-finalist in India this season, Tom Ford a quarter-finalist in Australia, but those are both pretty isolated results. Luca Brecel is also always interesting to see, but we don't see him much these days, as qualifying has proved to be a bit on a nightmare for him this season.

    Quarter 3:

    Neil Robertson v. Liu Chuang
    Andrew Higginson v. Tian Pengfei
    Marcus Campbell v. Rod Lawler
    Marco Fu v. Paul Davison

    Mark Davis v. David Gilbert
    Graeme Dott v. Ben Woollaston
    Liang Wenbo v. Cao Yupeng
    Stephen Maguire v. Mark Joyce

    Another very strong quarter, although it's very hard to see anyone other than Neil Robertson or Marco Fu going through in the first section. Robertson has been one of the players of the season so far, along with Ding and O'Sullivan, reaching three ranking finals and winning two of them. The Masters was the first tournament where he didn't really play well. He was lucky to get past Allen in the 1st round, then lost fairly convincingly to Maguire in the next round. Prior to that he only lost to the eventual tournament winners, and to his bogey player Peter Ebdon in the International Championship. He used to play his best snooker in the UK tournaments, then started winning in China as well, but he doesn't have a major ranking final in Germany yet, so maybe that could be a challenge for him. He could play Andrew Higginson in the 2nd round here, in a repeat of the 2007 Welsh Open final. Marco Fu has also had a terrific season, a terrific year in fact, reaching three ranking finals in 2013 and winning one. One of those finals was the German Masters last season, so I am sure he is happy to return to Germany. The UK was disappointing for him, losing to an amateur in the 1st round, but he showed some form in the Masters, so it wouldn't surprise me if he is on it again. Fu against Robertson was the Australian Open final earlier in the season, a pretty good match that Fu won, so I wouldn't mind if they met again here. I don't see many players who could spoil things, to be honest, two quite inconsistent Chinese players and a couple of veterans - also quite inconsistent. But then again, Fu has always played better as the underdog rather than the favourite...

    The fight for the other QF spot should be more open... Stephen Maguire is the highest seed. I'm not sure what to say about him anymore... I suppose he had pretty decent results in the two majors recently, losing in the quarter-finals of the UK and the semi-finals of the Masters, but it's always annoying to see the way he can lose sometimes. He showed very strong form in the Masters, and indeed started very well against O'Sullivan in the semis, only to go mental after the first little setback. And of course he started missing sitters as a result and didn't stand a chance after that. But then again, he is capable of very composed and disciplined performances, like the one that saw him reach the final of this tournament in 2012. Liang Wenbo could be his 2nd round opponent, a player who has finally re-gained a bit of the old form from 2009. He reached the quarter-finals of the International Championship this season and won a PTC in China just prior to that. He had a good lead against Maguire in the UK, but lost 6-5 in the end, so I'm sure he will be looking for some revenge here. His 1st round match against Cao Yupeng could be a good one as well, as Cao was himself a ranking quarter-finalist this season in Wuxi, although he hasn't done anything notable since. Graeme Dott is another strong player in this section, missing out on an appearance in the Masters for only the second time in 13 years. But even though he is lurking around that 16th spot in the rankings, his results haven't been too bad. He was in a tough section in the UK and lost to Selby in the last16, and he also reached the semi-finals of the International Championship, where he lost to Ding in a good match. He has a decent record in this tournament, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him have a good run this week. Mark Davis was less successful in the two big tournaments recently, losing early both times, and his early-season results could have been better as well. But as always, he could take advantage if the other big names struggle. Strong section this, even the three players I haven't mentioned are all quite capable of causing problems for anyone, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

    Quarter 4:

    Judd Trump v. Noppon Saengkham
    Mark King v. Dave Harold
    Matthew Stevens v. Fergal O'Brien
    Shaun Murphy v. Ken Doherty

    Gary Wilson v. Daniel Wells
    Michael Holt v. Jamie O'Neill
    Peter Ebdon v. Alan McManus
    Jack Lisowski v. Thepchaiya Un-Nooh

    The bottom quarter is not the strongest, but it does feature a lot of familiar faces. Judd Trump and Shaun Murphy are the highest seeds here, opponents in the quarter-finals of the WC last year, both still looking for a major result this season. Trump's early season was awful, an early exit in every major tournament, but he has been looking better recently. He played well to reach the last16 in the UK, then had a pretty bad day and lost to Allen in a poor match. He wasn't too bad in the Masters either, but he just needed another great to get past a solid Marco Fu in the 1st round. Trump hasn't really had a great run in this tournament yet, so this would be a good time, because he is in danger of dropping down the rankings pretty dramatically. Murphy has also had a pretty underwhelming season so far, but he also looked alright in the two recent majors. He finally put two good wins together against the top players in the Masters, before playing a terrible match in the semi-finals against Selby. He was a quarter-finalist in this tournament last year, and a semi-finalist the year before, so I'm sure he is happy to be back in Germany. He lost to Ken Doherty the last time they played, in the Wuxi Classic at the start of last season, so this could be a tricky opening match for him. It's also a repeat of the 2008 Malta Cup final, a match Murphy did win. He could face Matthew Stevens in the 2nd round, which would be another pretty common pairing. Murphy of course beat Stevens in the World final in 2005, and again in the 2007 WC, both times coming from a long way behind. He doesn't seem to have any psychological edge over him anymore though, as Stevens has won the last four times they've met in major ranking snooker. Stevens has also had some decent results this season, reaching the semi-finals of the Wuxi Classic early on, followed by another decent run in the International Championship three months ago, but it wasn't enough to earn him a spot in the Masters. Mark King and Dave Harold are also here, two very experienced players, but no major results from either of them in recent times. I guess Fergal O'Brien has a slightly better chance to do something, having played quite well to reach the last16 of the International Championship this season.

    I think it's fair to say the last section is pretty weak, having lost both Ronnie O'Sullivan and Ricky Walden before the venue stage. I guess it's a chance for an unlikely contender to have a good run, and the obvious choice would be Peter Ebdon. A major tournament winner not too long ago, but pretty inconsistent this season. His best tournament was the International Championship, where he once again beat Neil Robertson on the way to the quarter-finals. He has dropped down the rankings a bit now, but he still seems to be capable of holding good form throughout a tournament, unlike some of the other players of his age. It mostly seems to happen for him in China though. He plays Alan McManus in the 1st round, amazingly their first major match in a decade. McManus himself can still play some good snooker, and we've actually seen more of him over the past two seasons than some of the previous ones. He beat Trump in the 1st round in Chengdu, with a pretty good performance. Ebdon beat Jack Lisowski in that same round, an opponent he could face in the 2nd round here. Sounds like a tricky draw, but Lisowski hasn't actually done anything at all this season, so it will be interesting to see if he can take advantage of a favourable draw here. Michael Holt could also be one of the favourites to go through here, a semi-finalist in Shanghai this season, his best-ever result in a major event. He played pretty well in this event last year, reaching the quarter-finals where he lost to Carter. And finally, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh also deserves a mention, mainly for being one of the few players to beat O'Sullivan in a major event in recent times, although it was a pretty weird match. On the other hand, Un-Nooh is also one of the few players to lose to a woman, so I don't really expect him to do anything here.

    Possible QF lineup:

    Allister Carter v. Barry Hawkins
    John Higgins v. Mark Selby
    Neil Robertson v. Graeme Dott
    Shaun Murphy v. Peter Ebdon

    Should be a good couple of days in any case.

  • #2
    What an amazing write up. Wow.

    I'm really looking forward to Dominic Dale v. Steve Davis. I just hope it is televised.

    /Goes back to reading the OP...


    • #3
      Excellent write up and i agree.

      Marco Fu is currently 26-1 odds to win it this year and i think he will do well. I put a sneaky $10 on him as well!!

      Robertson is the player i am going for but he is to short in such an open field to back.
      If it is called " Common sense " why is it so rare???


      • #4
        Great start from Eurosport, showing the 8th frame of the Masters final while the German Masters has started.

        Not sure how the setup works for spectators in the arena, but it sure looks impressive, seven tables without any partitions. It's obviously not full on a Wednesday morning, but there are still quite a few people in.


        • #5
          No mention in the write up that jimmy might beat xaoi? The world qualifiers werent too long ago
          Blown away


          • #6
            Originally posted by jw147 View Post
            No mention in the write up that jimmy might beat xaoi? The world qualifiers werent too long ago
            Sorry, forgot about that.

            He is second favourite today, but that win just might give him a boost. The Chinese players have quite a mediocre record in Germany as well, while this setup could suit White. He has just taken a 1-0 lead.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Odrl View Post
              Sorry, forgot about that.

              He is second favourite today, but that win just might give him a boost. The Chinese players have quite a mediocre record in Germany as well, while this setup could suit White. He has just taken a 1-0 lead.
              Its ok mate Yea 1-0 ahead. You never know, another upset maybe
              Blown away


              • #8
                Why would you want to ruin your write up with a degrading comment about women?


                • #9
                  Pretty poor stuff from Poomjaeng so far. It started in the opening frame where he had three or four chances to split the pack and missed it each time, even though it was a huge target. He was always on the back foot in the scrap that followed, and he lost the second frame pretty convincingly as well...

                  Originally posted by sealer View Post
                  Why would you want to ruin your write up with a degrading comment about women?
                  I'm not really sure what to say to that... I thought the use of that smiley would make sure it wouldn't get taken seriously, but obviously not...


                  • #10
                    Surely Poomjaeng knows he's fouled the Red with his cue there? You know when you've touched a ball with your cue.
                    After 15 reds and 15 blacks i did this


                    • #11
                      It's a shame there is only 1 TV table. Hopefully they chose the
                      best possible matches to televise.

                      Great write up indeed.

                      Some great snooker matches to look forward to I am sure.


                      • #12
                        Great dish there by Poom, tremendous bottle!
                        After 15 reds and 15 blacks i did this


                        • #13
                          Poomjaeng call me Jim just made a nice break then to beat Carter, just tuned in so anyone the way the frame score went before 4-4?

                          He missed a red but Ali didn't play on, don't think I've ever seen anyone hit a ball with their mouth so wide open but he is fun to watch, maybe not to play against though.


                          • #14
                            Every credit to Poom for that performance, he looked dead but pulled of some great shots in the final 2 frames, looking forward to the Torturer now
                            After 15 reds and 15 blacks i did this


                            • #15
                              Nice last black Mark, 5-1 on Jimmy Robertson.