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  • Shanghai Masters

    It's on! and ROS is back.

  • #2
    off all week
    hoping for an Odrl write up
    Up the TSF!


    • #3
      Ah yes, the second major ranking event of the season starts tomorrow...

      The Shanghai Masters is one of the more established tournaments on the calendar these days. It was first held in 2007, and it has kept a similar spot on the calendar and pretty much the same format every year since. In fact, it is the only standard ranking event that still uses the good old tiered format, which means the top16 seeds are all here and we only have 40 players at the venue, 8 of which are Chinese wildcards. I know I am in the minority here, but I do prefer this traditional format to the newer one. Every section of the draw is filled with quality players, and there is hardly an unexciting pairing to be found anywhere in the draw.

      And on that note, let's have a look...

      Quarter 1:

      Kyren Wilson v. Michael Holt/Xu Si
      Ronnie O'Sullivan v. Liang Wenbo/Hu Hao
      Ding Junhui v. Scott Donaldson
      Mark Allen v. Anthony McGill/Chen Zifan

      A very exciting quarter. The Shanghai Masters has been a great tournament for Kyren Wilson in the past. It was a breakthrough tournament for him in 2013 when he reached a major ranking quarter-final for the first time in his career, and again last year when he captured his first major title. He followed it up with solid performances throughout the season, and it looks like he will continue with more of the same, already reaching the final of the short-format Indian Open at the start of this season. He possibly has a tricky opening match against Michael Holt, the opponent who ended his run in 2013, in what was actually Holt's best major tournament to date and the only time he has reached a major ranking semi-final in his career. Last season was decent for Holt, with wins in most tournaments, but he couldn't quite get to the business end in any of them. He opened this season really well though, beating some strong players to reach the final of the Riga Masters. Wilson won 5-1 when they met here last year, and also beat Holt in the German Masters, both times in the last16. I'm sure many people, myself included, would love to see Wilson play Ronnie O'Sullivan in the 2nd round here. They have never met in any major or minor match before, but Wilson seems to have the game and the mental toughness to take on the really top players, so this could be a really good match. Of course O'Sullivan is not guaranteed to win his opening match here, especially if he plays Liang Wenbo in a repeat of the 2009 final. O'Sullivan won 10-5 on that occasion, and that's the last time O'Sullivan has won an event in China. He also beat Liang in the World Championship on two occasions, but lost to him the last time they met in a major match, in the International Championship three years ago. O'Sullivan sat out the first half of last season, then played quite strongly in the second half and actually ended up being one of the best players of the season. He is starting much earlier this year, so it will be interesting to see what kind of form he is in. He has proven several times that lengthy breaks away from the game don't really hurt him much, but travelling to China might be more of a problem for him. Funnily enough, Liang himself has struggled in the Chinese events pretty badly, not winning a single match in Shanghai or Beijing since 2009. He has done much better in Europe though, particularly last season when he reached the UK final. Can he build on that and capture a major title this season?

      Ding Junhui won this title in 2013 when he was playing the best snooker of his career, and reached the business end of the tournament in the following two editions as well, even though he struggled badly with his form in that period. It was nice to see him coming back strongly at the end of last season, stringing quite a few good runs together and of course coming close to winning the World title in May. Unfortunately he has decided to skip the minor events in the summer, and his mediocre performance in the World Open suggests that he has lost most of that momentum again. He did recently win the 6-reds event though, for what that's worth... Mark Allen hasn't played a lot this season either. He even skipped the World Open, which was the one tournament really worth entering. He has generally played well in China in recent years, winning both of his major ranking titles here, and he has a final and a semi-final appearance in the last two years in Shanghai. Last season was fairly strong for him, including a win in the PTC Finals, but he is yet to win one of the really big tournaments. He has reached the age of 30 now, so perhaps this is the time for him to finally raise his game to the next level. Anthony McGill certainly seems to be on the right track in that regard. He actually had a pretty disappointing last season, but the World Championship brought out the best in him again, and he started this season very strongly by capturing the Indian Open title, beating some strong players on his way. He also added runs to the quarter-finals of the Riga Masters and the World Open, which makes him one of the better performers so far this season, and he could be a good bet for the title here as well. He is certainly one of the players the seeds were hoping to avoid here. Wilson and McGill may not be the biggest names in this quarter of the draw, but they have already played each other in the final in India, so at this point in time it wouldn't be a big surprise if they made it through.

      Quarter 2:

      Judd Trump v. Ben Woollaston
      Ricky Walden v. Michael White
      Barry Hawkins v. Robert Milkins
      Shaun Murphy v. Stephen Maguire/Lu Ning

      Judd Trump has a mixed record in the Shanghai Masters. He has played in the final on two occasions, but lost in the 1st round every other time. He is generally a very strong traveller, having reached 7 of his 10 major finals at venues outside of the UK, most recently in the China Open in Beijing earlier this year. He beat Ricky Walden 10-4 in that final, and we could have a repeat of that match in the 2nd round here. Walden himself is a former winner of three ranking events in China, so he is always a big danger on these travels. He is a little too unpredictable and inconsistent though, and we saw that with him last season when he struggled badly, before finally finding a bit of form and reaching two finals at the end of March. I think Trump is the more reliable player here, although he too is prone to unexpected early exits, like in the World Open when he was outplayed convincingly by Zhang Anda. Another player who could do something here is Michael White. He had a minor breakthrough two seasons ago when he won the Indian Open, actually whitewashing Walden 5-0 in the final, but he couldn't really follow it up last season. He was challenging for a top16 spot in the rankings at one point, but he has now dropped down a little again, and that's not really an encouraging sign for a player of his age. He seems to have a lot of problems with patience and concentration, and that's definitely something he needs to work on, otherwise his career could follow a similar path to Stephen Maguire's...

      Speaking of Maguire, he finds himself in this quarter as well, unfortunately only as a qualifier. He had a pretty heroic run to the semi-finals of the China Open six months ago to guarantee his appearance at the Crucible, but his stay in the top16 was short-lived. He hasn't played particularly well in the Chinese tournaments in recent times, and he hasn't been to the business end of the Shanghai Masters for seven years. He has also drawn a fairly dangerous wildcard in Lu Ning here, a player who has been on the Main Tour before and has a lot of experience in wildcard rounds. You may remember Lu's superb performance against Shaun Murphy in the China Open four years ago, still as a teenager. The other players in this section are among the more experienced players on the tour. Murphy and Maguire have had a great rivalry over the years, but they have not met each other a lot in the more recent past, so this could be an interesting match here. Murphy is certainly the better player at this point in time, at least according to the rankings, but he too has had his problems recently. He was able to win a title at the end of last season to salvage something from it, but it's still a cause for concern that he went an entire season without reaching a single quarter-final outside of short-format tournaments. It has only taken him one tournament to put that right this season, reaching the quarter-finals of the World Open two months ago. He also got to the semi-finals in India, although the opposition he had to beat to reach that stage was not all that impressive. Barry Hawkins didn't have the best of seasons either and now finds himself on the verge of dropping out of the top16 for the first time in years. In the last two seasons he only played strongly in a couple of tournaments in the spring, but did absolutely nothing of note for the rest of the year. He has a very poor record against Murphy, so he wouldn't be my pick to come through here. Even if he managed to avoid Murphy in the 2nd round, his record against Maguire is even worse, having lost five of the six major matches against him in China in the past. It's funny, Hawkins gave some thoughts on the World Snooker website ahead of this event, and he actually described Robert Milkins as probably the worst draw he could have got in the 1st round. With the likes of McGill, Gould and Liang around, I would have to disagree with Hawkins on that, but of course that doesn't mean Milkins won't be a danger. He isn't playing as strongly as he was two or three years ago though, that's for sure.

      Quarter 3:

      Stuart Bingham v. Jamie Jones
      Marco Fu v. David Gilbert
      Allister Carter v. Kurt Maflin/Guan Zhen
      John Higgins v. Matthew Selt

      Stuart Bingham is the highest seed in the third quarter, the winner of this event in 2014 and a semi-finalist last year. His start to the season has been decent, a couple of wins in most events but no really good runs. That said, he lost to the eventual winner or runner-up on a couple of occasions, so the draws in the early rounds have not been too kind to him. I guess Jamie Jones is a favourable opponent here, although quite dangerous on his day, and he showed a bit of form recently to reach the quarter-finals of the Paul Hunter Classic. Marco Fu is also here, not a player who usually does well in the Chinese events, apart from the International Championship which has slightly longer matches. Speaking of long matches, Fu came very close to reaching the World final at the end of last season, narrowly losing to Selby in the semi-finals, but the short-format stuff doesn't suit him as much. In fact, he has lost in the early rounds of every event so far this season. David Gilbert has done much better, most notably with a run to the quarter-finals of the World Open, only his second appearance at the business end of a major event. His first was also in China, in the International Championship last season where he actually beat Fu on his way. If I remember correctly, Fu had that match virtually won, but played a poor tactical exchange to allow Gilbert in for the clearance in the decider. They also played in the UK Championship a month later, and it was Fu who prevailed on that occasion. I wouldn't be surprised if Gilbert came through here, although the man to beat in this section is surely Bingham.

      Allister Carter comes here on the back of winning the World Open in Yushan, the fourth major ranking title of his career. It was a welcome return to form for him, after his struggles with poor health in recent years and the subsequent drop down the rankings. Carter is also a former winner of the Shanghai Masters, back in 2010. His highest obstacle in this section should be John Higgins, himself a former winner of this event back in 2012. Higgins has definitely regained some of the consistency that was missing in his game a few years ago, but his form isn't quite as good as in the first half of last season when he captured two major titles. He travels well these days though and often plays some of his best snooker in China. He was a quarter-finalist in the recent World Open, but ran into an inspired Carter and was whitewashed 5-0. Apart from that, his record against Carter over the years is quite strong. I wouldn't rule out the two qualifiers in this section either. Kurt Maflin and Matthew Selt both had a run to the last16 in the World Open, which is a decent sign I suppose. I think Maflin is the bigger danger here, having played well in China in the past, particularly in the 2015 China Open where he reached the semi-finals. Selt, on the other hand, has never reached the business end of any major tournament in China.

      Quarter 4:

      Neil Robertson v. Ryan Day/Ma Bing
      Mark Williams v. Mei Xiwen
      Joe Perry v. Stuart Carrington/Niu Zhuang
      Mark Selby v. Martin Gould/Yuan Sijun

      We conclude with another very intriguing quarter. As usual, Neil Robertson has been one of the strongest players in this first part of the season. He thrashed all of his opponents to win the Riga Masters, and that's not easy to do in these short-format tournaments. It looked like he would do something similar in the World Open, winning all of his matches comfortably before the semi-finals, but he then came up against a superb Perry and didn't really have much chance in that match. He lost in the 1st round in Shanghai in the last two years, and he will need to be sharp right from the start here to avoid another early exit, having drawn Ryan Day in the 1st round. Day actually came close to winning the inaugural Shanghai Masters back in 2007. He led Dominic Dale 6-2 after the first session of the final, but was completely outplayed in the remainder of the match. He is perhaps not as strong these days, but he is still a danger on these travels to China. Robertson did win comfortably when they played in the last16 of the World Open though. Robertson also has a dominant record against Mark Williams over the years, although most of it has been short-format crap. I find Williams to be one of the most unpredictable players on the tour these days. Runs to the semi-finals of the Riga Masters and to the last16 of the World Open are decent signs, as was his run to the quarter-finals of the World Championship at the end of last season, but there just isn't any consistency in his game anymore. He could easily come through this quarter, but he could just as easily lose his opening match as well, even though Mei Xiwen should be an easy opponent on paper. Quite impressive for Mei to qualify in the first place actually, as he started in the very first qualifying round, and I'm sure we all remember how difficult it is for the lower-ranked players to reach the venue stage under the tiered format. He whitewashed Graeme Dott 5-0 in the final qualifying round, an impressive result...

      Mark Selby had pretty mediocre results in the summer, as expected, then came back strongly to win the Paul Hunter Classic last month, although the opposition he had to beat there was not particularly impressive. This is a player who has won two of the last three World titles and has held the number 1 spot in the rankings for five years in a row after the World Championship, so he is one of the men to beat in every tournament he enters. He has reached the business end of this tournament six times in eight appearances, including a win in 2011, and his performances at other major Chinese venues have been just as good. His most dangerous opponent in this section should be Joe Perry, another player who has played well in China recently. As I mentioned above, he played some great stuff in the World Open, but once again a major title has eluded him after he had left himself too far behind against Carter in the final. He narrowly missed out in the Wuxi Classic final two years ago as well, which means the biggest title he has won to date is the PTC Finals in Thailand in 2015. He has also won two minor PTC titles, both played in China. Unlike Perry, Martin Gould does have a traditional ranking title to his name, having won the German Masters in great style last season. Unfortunately being ranked 17th in the world meant he had to qualify for this event, and drawing Selby in the 1st round is about as bad as he could have got. He at least has a chance though, unlike the World Open where he didn't make the venue at all. I wonder if his wildcard match against Yuan Sijun will be televised here. It will be an interesting rematch after Yuan's superb performance to whitewash Gould 5-0 in the China Open at the end of last season. I bet Gould will take this one very seriously... It feels like Yuan has been around for a while, having played in these wildcard rounds for a few years now, but I think he is still only 16, so he is definitely one to watch for the future. I bet he would just love to take on the World champion here...

      Possible QF line-up:

      Kyren Wilson v. Anthony McGill
      Judd Trump v. Shaun Murphy
      Stuart Bingham v. John Higgins
      Neil Robertson v. Mark Selby

      There we are, a very exciting week ahead of us. We have matches of medium length, proper TV coverage, and a world-class field. The time zone is the only downside, but I will be getting up in the morning to watch as much of it as I can.


      • #4
        Is it on normal Eurosport?
        This is how you play darts ,MVG two nines in the same match!


        • #5
          Originally posted by itsnoteasy View Post
          Is it on normal Eurosport?
          YES! WOOOHOO!

          starts tomorrow Live 07:30 British Eurosport 2 and evening session 12:30

          slight change later in the week
          Up the TSF!


          • #6
            Originally posted by Odrl View Post
            I know I am in the minority here, but I do prefer this traditional format to the newer one. :
            I would not say that Odrl
            Up the TSF!


            • #7
              Originally posted by DeanH View Post
              YES! WOOOHOO!

              starts tomorrow Live 07:30 British Eurosport 2 and evening session 12:30

              slight change later in the week
              At last some snooker to watch, the natives can get restless when there's nowt happening
              This is how you play darts ,MVG two nines in the same match!


              • #8
                Blimey Ordl, now that's a preview and a half. Brilliant. Thanks!!

                Bazza did beat Ronnie playing the best I've ever seen him to reach the quarters at the Crucible. That was notable. And annoying, for a Ronnie fan.
                Last edited by Dan-cat; 18th September 2016, 05:23 PM.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dan-cat View Post
                  Blimey Ordl, now that's a preview and a half. Brilliant. Thanks!!

                  Bazza did beat Ronnie playing the best I've ever seen him to reach the quarters at the Crucible. That was notable. And annoying, for a Ronnie fan.
                  Yeah, not the same preview as Wildey mate! LOL

                  Bazza, just a fly in the ointment, never maintains that level to win.


                  • #10
                    Thanks Odrl, amzing stuff! a pleasure to read these previews to get the full picture before each tournament.

                    Wow Wembo's record in Shanghai or Beijing lol. This is Murphy's first tourney after the birth of his son two weeks ago. Quarter 4 is even more intriguing that 1 imho, QF Robbbo vs Selby would be great. Don't think Williams has it at the moment to beat both of them. Was trying to figure out the WCs matches, definitely room for 2 or 3 of them to come through even though as underdogs. I don't think I recall ever seeing Ma Bing play.


                    • #11
                      Did anyone watch this morning? I had a lie-in.


                      • #12
                        2 decent tussles going on in the 1st round , both matches going all the way . Fu was 3 nil up on Gilbert , and the man of the moment Michael ' HANDS FREE ' White is going to a decider with Ricky Walden......few centuries as well .
                        Still trying to pot as many balls as i can !


                        • #13
                          what a come back for Gilbert. Walden's match full of drama, needed 3 snookers in the decider, had the balls on the table to steal it eventually but missed that red in the upper left pocket.


                          • #14
                            yep watching a slightly delayed record
                            Up the TSF!


                            • #15
                              This Matt Selt guy is very disturbing.....Shot selection sometimes suspicious, very slow cue action....looks lost on the table most of the time.
                              A very poor match so far between him and Higgo.
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