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Shanghai Masters 2015 - Discussion

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  • Shanghai Masters 2015 - Discussion

    So, the Shanghai Masters is nearly here, the second major ranking event of the season...

    I have to admit I did not see a lot of the two recent PTC events, so I have mostly had a break from snooker since the Australian Open. I don't have much time at the moment, so I will rather spend it watching the tournament instead of talking about it, but since we are already at the last32 stage, I think a quick look through the draw is in order...

    Quarter 1:

    Stuart Bingham v. Jamie Jones/Fang XiongMan
    Marco Fu v. Mike Dunn/Niu Zhuang
    John Higgins v. Liang Wenbo
    Barry Hawkins v. Martin Gould

    A very interesting quarter to start with, probably the strongest of the entire draw, since it features quite a few players who have shown good form recently, including three of the four semi-finalists in Australia. Stuart Bingham was not in inspired form in Bendigo, losing to Fergal O'Brien in the 1st round from 4-2 up. He also didn't have much success in either of the two recent PTCs, so we are still waiting for anything close to the form he showed in May. I think there is a bit of a myth in snooker that first-time World champions tend to struggle the following season, clearly not the case when you analyse things closely, but Bingham just might end up being an example of this. He has been a very successful player for quite a few years now, but for some reason he never really lost his underdog status, so it will be interesting to see how he is viewed now when he is the World champion. He is also the defending champion here of course, and this draw will make it very hard for him to defend the title. Jamie Jones enjoyed the best run of his career in Australia, his first notable run of any kind since he reached the quarter-finals of the WC in 2012. Unfortunately almost none of his matches were televised, but we did see his semi-final against Higgins, where he actually led 4-0 before losing the last six frames. Tricky opening opponent for Bingham in any case. Next up for Bingham could be Marco Fu, a player who Bingham has struggled against recently, losing both of their major matches last season, in the Wuxi Classic and the Masters, Fu scoring very heavily on both occasions. Fu was a model of consistency last season, reaching no fewer than six major quarter-finals, but didn't go beyond that stage in any event, so he will be looking for better results this season. He was drawn against Gould in the 1st round in Australia, but this time things should be a little easier against Mike Dunn, if indeed Dunn wins his wildcard match. Having said that, Dunn was of course a semi-finalist in the China Open last year, so he is not to be underestimated.

    John Higgins is the winner of the most recent major event, but that doesn't seem to carry the kind of "curse" it did a few years ago, so he must be one of the favourites here. He has won two major titles in around six months, so his struggles are officially over. One thing that's worth mentioning perhaps is that, throughout his long drought, most of his best results seemed to come in China, and he is of course a former winner of this event. He will be facing a former finalist in the 1st round here, Liang Wenbo, who is also coming back to good form in recent times. Liang's run to the semi-finals of the German Masters last season was his first run of any note in a major event since Shanghai 2009, and he has already shown some form this season as well, most notably in the PTC in Riga, where he reached the quarter-finals. He is also still involved in the final of the 6-reds event as I type this, although I suspect that match will have already been played by the time I finish. It's worth noting though, that Higgins has never lost to Liang, even during Liang's purple patch around 2009. This tiered format that is used in the Shanghai Masters always seems to provide a few really good 1st round prospects, so moving on from Higgins-Liang, we also have Barry Hawkins against Martin Gould in this quarter. Hawkins is probably the best player not to have won a major event in China, but he has appeared in several semi-finals, and he showed good form this summer by winning the title in Riga. He doesn't play Higgins all that often, so that would be a pairing I would quite like to see, as would Higgins against Gould, which would of course be a repeat of the recent Australian Open final. That was the best run of Gould's career so far, and he came very close to winning, before Higgins made a good break in the decider to win 9-8. A confident Gould can be very dangerous as we know, and he is generally a good traveller, so he is one of at least seven players with a good chance to come through this quarter.

    Quarter 2:

    Judd Trump v. Robert Milkins/Chen Zifan
    Ricky Walden v. Matthew Selt
    Mark Williams v. Tom Ford/Han Bin
    Neil Robertson v. Jamie Cope/Lin Shuai

    The second quarter is a little weaker by comparison, but not by much. It still has a number of dangerous qualifiers, so the top players are by no means guaranteed to go through here. Judd Trump is another in a series of former finalists here, and you will no doubt remember the great final he lost against Higgins in 2012, from 7-2 up. He has been decent so far this season, with runs to the last16 and the last8 in the two PTCs, and to the quarter-finals in Australia. He may not be at the top of his game at the moment, but he has now reached a level of consistency where it usually takes a good performance to knock him out of tournaments. Robert Milkins is probably one of the most dangerous qualifiers here, on the verge of being a seed himself after a good last season, and he is the kind of player who is very difficult to stop once he finds his scoring rhythm, so Trump will need to be careful. Ricky Walden could be a good bet in this quarter as well. He has won three major ranking events in China, including this one in 2008 and the International Championship last year, which makes him of the best "China" players of all time. His class is not in doubt, it's just a question whether he has the form at the moment. Matthew Selt is an interesting case as well, no major success in China so far, but all three of his major ranking quarter-finals have come in Australia, so he probably doesn't mind the travelling. One of those quarter-finals was this season, and he also reached the same stage in Riga, so his form seems pretty good at the moment. I suspect we might see him at the business end of another couple of tournaments this season. I am not sure who to go for here, but a Trump-Walden pairing could be good, especially as they meet so rarely in the major events.

    Neil Robertson has not played a lot this season. We only saw him in Australia, where he played rather poorly and went out in the 1st round. A lot has been said about his weaknesses lately, and it's true that he consistently produces some of the best snooker on the tour, but he is still struggling to win more than one title a season. His last major one was the Wuxi Classic in 2014, so well over a year ago. It took a long time for him to get past the last16 round in any Chinese event, but in the more recent years he has been one of the best performers in China, and one to watch this week as well. He probably opens against Jamie Cope, in a repeat of the 2006 Grand Prix final. Cope is also a former China Open finalist, and a semi-finalist in this event five years ago, but this time he is quite a surprising qualifier, having done nothing of note in the game in recent years. He has also never beaten Robertson in any event, minor or major, even though they've played a lot, so it will be very difficult for him to get past the 1st round here. Mark Williams is a better bet to cause problems for Robertson, although he too has a fairly poor record against him. I think losing the final of this event in 2011 from 9-7 up against Selby set Williams back for a number of years, and it was only last season that we saw a bit of a resurgence. He was in contention for quite a few major titles, but unfortunately he played some of his worst snooker when it mattered the most. He had a shoulder operation recently, but he has already come back from it with a run to the quarter-finals of the Paul Hunter Classic, and I am sure he will enjoy to be playing in China again, with all the success he's had here over the years. I will also mention Tom Ford, a finalist in the recent Riga Open, so clearly in good form at the moment, although he has never beaten Williams, and I think I'm right in saying he has never won a match at a venue in China in his career, at least not in the major events.

    Quarter 3:

    Ding Junhui v. Alan McManus/Yao Pengcheng
    Graeme Dott v. Ryan Day
    Stephen Maguire v. Michael Holt
    Joe Perry v. Kyren Wilson/Wang Yuchen

    The third quarter is possibly the weakest of the draw, but still features a couple of players who could potentially win this tournament. Ding Junhui is the big mystery, one of the best players in the world when on form, but not really a factor when he is struggling. Last season was the first time in five years that he failed to win any sort of title, so I suspect his confidence will be fairly low, and he has not played in any event this season to show us what his form is like. He won this event in 2013 and reached the semi-finals last year, so this just might be the venue that inspires a return to form for him. Alan McManus, on the other hand, doesn't really have much experience at this venue. He lost in the qualifiers for the first seven years of this tournament and only made his debut last year, but it was a good debut, with a run to the quarter-finals. He was a quarter-finalist in the Riga Open a month ago as well, with wins over Trump and Maguire on his way. Also here are Graeme Dott and Ryan Day, another couple of good performers from Riga, where they actually met in the quarter-finals, with Dott prevailing 4-0. They have both had some success in China in the past. Day was the finalist of the inaugural Shanghai Masters back in 2007, losing from 6-2 up against Dominic Dale in the final, after beating Dott in the semi-finals. He went on to reach two further quarter-finals in the following two years, but he has struggled in this event since then. Dott was the China Open champion in 2007, one of only two ranking events he has ever won, and he has generally played most of his best snooker in China in recent years, at least in the time since his third World final in 2010. He has a dreadful record against Ding though, losing seven of their eight matches in various formats.

    Stephen Maguire was one of the players I had in mind when I said someone from this quarter could potentially win the tournament. He played very well for most of the Australian Open, but came up against an inspired Gould in the semi-finals. He has not been past the last16 for seven years in Shanghai, but he seems to have found some confidence and consistency over the last 15 months or so, so I would expect him to have a decent season and perhaps a good tournament here. Michael Holt returns to the place of his biggest success in snooker so far, a semi-final two seasons ago, and he comes here as a recent semi-finalist in the Paul Hunter Classic, so he could be a danger. Last season was not brilliant for him, so I'm sure he will be hoping for a better one this time. Kyren Wilson's best run so far also came in Shanghai, the same year in fact, when he lost to Holt in the quarter-finals. He too must be looking forward to a return to China, after a fairly quiet last season. Finally, Joe Perry is definitely not to be underestimated here. The last two seasons have been the best of his career, although in quite different ways. The first one was very consistent, with five or six runs to major quarter-finals and beyond (depending on what you consider a major), but last season was perhaps even better. It had a lot of early exits, but also a run to the final of the Wuxi Classic, where he lost 10-9 to Robertson, and the title and the big prize in the PTC Finals. He played fairly well in Australia this season, and lost an extraordinary match against Higgins in the quarter-finals, despite outscoring him heavily. Against Maguire he has traditionally struggled though, losing the vast majority of their matches, although he did win the biggest one, in the quarter-finals of the 2008 WC.

    Quarter 4:

    Shaun Murphy v. Peter Ebdon/Yuan Sijun
    Michael White v. Mark Davis
    Mark Allen v. Luca Brecel
    Mark Selby v. David Grace

    Shaun Murphy is perhaps not among the players who usually play their best stuff in China, but considering his form over the past 10 months or so, he still has to be considered one of the favourites here. The 2010-2014 period wasn't really successful for him, at least not in the major events, and he kind of lost the status of being a really top player, but he definitely got it back now with the Masters title and the finals of the German Masters and the World Championship. In the more recent past his old nemesis Ali Carter struck again, beating him in the 1st round of the Australian Open and in the final of the Paul Hunter Classic, but Carter is not here this time. Peter Ebdon definitely does plays his best in China, especially in this late period of his career, with two China Open wins, but Shanghai itself hasn't been particularly successful for him. He beat an out-of-sorts Murphy in the World Grand Prix last season, but lost to him recently in Riga, both short matches, played over a best-of-7. These two have actually played each other in three-session and even four-session matches in the past, but that feels like ancient history now, and it's Murphy who is clearly the stronger of the two at the moment. Michael White could also be dangerous this week. He had a major breakthrough last season, with runs to the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters and the International Championship, both in China of course, and he had another successful travel when he won the minor event in India. He was also a quarter-finalist in Australia at the start of this season, and if I remember correctly he lost his match to Jones 5-4 on the final black. Mark Davis is a tough 1st round opponent for him, a real specialist for the summer months, although this season seems to be an exception for him in that respect. I would make White a slight favourite, but only just...

    Mark Selby has had a quiet start to the season, losing to an inspired Jones in Australia and doing nothing great in the PTCs either. It was a similar story last season as well, but he went on to win two major ranking events, so I would expect a similar turnaround in form this season. It's impossible to predict whether it will be this week though. Selby is of course the reigning China Open champion and the winner of this event back in 2011 as well. His 1st round opponent is David Grace, probably the only real outsider in the entire draw, apart from the Chinese wildcards. Grace had a surprising win over Carter in the qualifiers, but apart from that he has done nothing worth mentioning, neither this season nor in his career as a whole. It would be a major surprise if he beat Selby here. Mark Allen is of course a much bigger danger. He was a finalist here last year, then went on to reach the final of the International Championship as well, which means four of his five major ranking finals have been in China. Unfortunately he has largely struggled since, including in Australia at the start of the season, where he went out in the 1st round. He faces Luca Brecel in the 1st round here, a semi-finalist in the Welsh Open last season. Brecel showed a lot of promise that week, Selby being among his victims, but that was six months ago, and unfortunately he has failed to push on since. He will be making his Shanghai debut here, and he very rarely plays in China in general, so it will be interesting to see how he copes. The last time he played Allen was in the UK Championship last season, Allen winning with a 6-0 whitewash. As for Allen and Selby, this is definitely a pairing I would like to see in the 2nd round, because it always seems to be a good match when they play. Their meetings in the best-of-11 format in particular have been brilliant, all four of them finishing 6-5.

    Possible QF line-up:

    Marco Fu v. John Higgins
    Ricky Walden v. Neil Robertson
    Ding Junhui v. Stephen Maguire
    Shaun Murphy v. Mark Selby


    In conclusion, it looks like a really good line-up this week, O'Sullivan and Carter being the only "major" players who are missing, so it should be a great event. I hope to be able to see as much of it as possible.

  • #2
    Great review as always Odrl.

    Stuart Bingham v. Jamie Jones/Fang XiongMan
    Marco Fu v. Mike Dunn/Niu Zhuang
    John Higgins v. Liang Wenbo
    Barry Hawkins v. Martin Gould

    Fu and Hawkins would be my pick.


    Judd Trump v. Robert Milkins/Chen Zifan
    Ricky Walden v. Matthew Selt
    Mark Williams v. Tom Ford/Han Bin
    Neil Robertson v. Jamie Cope/Lin Shuai

    Trump is due for a win. Robertson is too.


    Ding Junhui v. Alan McManus/Yao Pengcheng
    Graeme Dott v. Ryan Day
    Stephen Maguire v. Michael Holt
    Joe Perry v. Kyren Wilson/Wang Yuchen

    Dott or Perry would be my picks.

    Shaun Murphy v. Peter Ebdon/Yuan Sijun
    Michael White v. Mark Davis
    Mark Allen v. Luca Brecel
    Mark Selby v. David Grace

    Murphy is my pick here.

    Its a shame Un-nooh isnt playing as he was superb
    in Bangkok and he has found some confidence and
    has always been a more than capable player.

    Comment


    • #3
      I take it no one other than robertmac and myself cares about this tournament? It's already started and it doesn't even have a wikipedia article. I've never seen that before.

      Anyway, the opening day was not that great. It was Dott-Day in the morning, some bits of quality here and there, but mostly scrappy. Higgins beat Liang 5-1 in the afternoon, after Liang had wasted several easy chances in all of the first three frames. Higgins himself wasn't at his best, but pretty solid, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him go far again. Having said that, he has Gould next, a 5-1 winner over Hawkins today.

      The only real shock of the day came in the wildcard round, Fang Xiongman beating the in-form Jamie Jones 5-1. It was interesting to read his post-match comments, it makes me want to see him play now. I think he plays Bingham in the morning, probably on TV, but I can't be bothered to check if I'm right.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally Posted by Odrl View Post
        I take it no one other than robertmac and myself cares about this tournament? It's already started and it doesn't even have a wikipedia article. I've never seen that before.

        Anyway, the opening day was not that great. It was Dott-Day in the morning, some bits of quality here and there, but mostly scrappy. Higgins beat Liang 5-1 in the afternoon, after Liang had wasted several easy chances in all of the first three frames. Higgins himself wasn't at his best, but pretty solid, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him go far again. Having said that, he has Gould next, a 5-1 winner over Hawkins today.

        The only real shock of the day came in the wildcard round, Fang Xiongman beating the in-form Jamie Jones 5-1. It was interesting to read his post-match comments, it makes me want to see him play now. I think he plays Bingham in the morning, probably on TV, but I can't be bothered to check if I'm right.
        Believe it or not, I always follow your report an update about this kind of things !! is very impressive !! personally I'm greatful to you and ur input about this matter !!
        Many thanks !!

        Comment


        • #5
          I have been watching all day
          I thought Dott played some aggressive shots and as you say, there was some quality.
          Liang smiled his way through another lost to his bogey-man Higgins.

          I certainly do hope Bingham will be on the TV table, nothing listed as yet but certainly the World #2 and World Champion and defending champion will be on TV

          what comments/where are they from Fang?
          Last edited by DeanH; 14th September 2015, 07:44 PM.
          Up the TSF!

          Comment


          • #6
            As for Wikipedia , you'r right !! Is new to me either !!
            Kind regards,
            Ramon

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally Posted by DeanH View Post
              what comments/where are they from Fang?
              On the World Snooker website:

              http://www.worldsnooker.com/higgins-eases-to-wenbo-win/

              He talks about how he started in snooker and the setbacks he's had.

              Comment


              • #8
                Shanghai Masters 2015 - Discussion

                thanks for the link
                missed that when I looked earlier
                Up the TSF!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Nice to see Gould advance as he just shows up
                  and isnt intimidated by anyone. Tomorrow does
                  have some great matches.

                  from World Snooker...........
                  Chinese wild card Fang Xiongman was produced the shock of the opening day as he beat Jamie Jones 5-1 with a top break of 115.

                  In an emotional press conference, Fang said: “I first picked up a cue when I was 17 and I wasn’t that good at 18 or 19. People would say that Ding Junhui was winning ranking events by that age, and it really hurt when they said that. I tended to doubt myself even on very simple shots and there was a voice saying ‘you can’t do it.’ I was close to collapse.

                  “I quit snooker once, for about two months. But I found there’s nothing I can do other than snooker. I really felt my love for snooker, still in my blood. I moved somewhere unfamiliar and continued with practice.

                  “In tournaments I certainly try my hardest because it’s about time I produced my best. I’m pretty confident now and I think if I play well I’ll win. There is still so much about the technical and mental sides of the game to learn. Hopefully I can be more consistent and take more chances as they come.”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally Posted by Odrl View Post
                    I take it no one other than robertmac and myself cares about this tournament?
                    I taped it. Just got done watching Higgins vs Liang Wenbo.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Agree with you re Mr Un-Nooh, first time I've seen him play and he is a great player to watch, hope he goes far.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Joe Johnson can't believe the shot Fang just played because he played it right handed?? Probably because he is right handed Joe ha ha.
                        After 15 reds and 15 blacks i did this http://youtu.be/DupuczMS2o4

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Although upon closer inspection it does look like he is very comfortable with his left hand.
                          After 15 reds and 15 blacks i did this http://youtu.be/DupuczMS2o4

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally Posted by scottley View Post
                            Joe Johnson can't believe the shot Fang just played because he played it right handed?? Probably because he is right handed Joe ha ha.
                            Joe Johnson is a right twat and the worst snooker commentator ever!
                            John Lennon : Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              He does spout some rubbish to be fair.
                              After 15 reds and 15 blacks i did this http://youtu.be/DupuczMS2o4

                              Comment

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