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  • German Masters 2013 - Discussion

    Shall we have a look at the upcoming German Masters?

    It's not my favourite snooker week of the season, because it's not actually a week, it's just five days of snooker with a lot of matches to get through, and not exactly perfect coverage in the past two years. Still, it's proper snooker, with matches of medium length, and a ranking title to be won. It's also bound to be well supported again, and it should be a great atmosphere in the final stages.

    A lot of matches have been held over, so the draw is a bit of a mess. But let's a have a look at it anyway...

    Quarter 1:

    J.Trump/J.Wattana v. Anthony Hamilton
    Allister Carter v. Fraser Patrick
    Xiao Guodong v. Kurt Maflin
    M.Williams/M.O'Donnell v. Michael Holt

    Probably the weakest quarter of the draw, with a couple of struggling seeds, and qualifiers who aren't normally considered particularly dangerous. I think Judd Trump has a point to prove here, probably more so than any other top player, after his very underwhelming performances in both the UK Championship and the Masters. His QF match against Dott at the Masters was probably the worst he has played since establishing himself at the top of the game, and I'm sure he will be determined to get back to his form from the first part of the season. He was supposed to meet Carter in the 2nd round of the UK Championship, but never got there, so perhaps this is the chance to finally get some revenge for that defeat at the Crucible. Carter hasn't really shown his Crucible form this season, at least not the kind of concentration and determination that got him to the final, nor his extra cautious tactical play. But he played well in the UK Championship anyway, only just losing in the SF from a commanding position. I thought that defeat might be in his mind for a while, but losing to Higgins at the Masters wasn't really unexpected, so these next few events will show us what kind of state he is in. It's hard to see anyone other than these two going through. Personally, I think it will be Trump.

    Mark Williams is the other big name, and he probably has the least impressive opposition of any top player in a long time. But if he plays as poorly as in recent times, I'm sure the other four players will be delighted to be in this part of the draw. Williams of course has a history of playing well in Germany, having won this event in 2011, and he reached another QF last year. Maybe this part of the season will finally see him produce a few good runs, with his home tournament and a couple of trips overseas, which he usually likes. Who could knock him out? Well, Michael Holt perhaps, but he hasn't really shown anything this season. Neither has Xiao Guodong for that matter, a player who finds himself in the position where a top16 seed would normally be, having knocked Mark Davis out in the last 64. He is not really used to appearing at venues, particularly outside of China, but he is a pretty good player and could certainly take advantage if Williams is out of sorts.


    Quarter 2:

    N.Robertson/D.Wells v. Michael Wasley
    Stuart Bingham v. Andrew Higginson
    Graeme Dott v. Dave Harold
    S.Murphy/B.Woollaston v. Robert Milkins

    The second quarter is probably the strongest, taking players' recent form into account. We have three of the Masters semi-finalists, along with one of the most successful players of the first half of the season. So who will go through? Neil Robertson is always a pretty good bet these days. He doesn't actually hold any major titles at the moment, but he also doesn't go out early as much as he used to. He was beaten in two major finals this season, so he has been reasonably successful, and I'm sure he will challenge for a few titles in the second half as well. Bingham also hasn't won anything major this season, but he did win two PTCs and the Premier League, and also lost in the final of the Wuxi Classic. He struggled in this part of the season a year ago, but I think he is generally a more consistent and confident player now, so it will always take a good player to knock him out of a tournament. He is a better traveler than Robertson, but this isn't the Far East, and Robertson has already won a PTC in Poland this season, so it's really hard to call. Andrew Higginson could also be dangerous here. We haven't seen him a lot this season, but he is good enough to take advantage if the two favourites don't perform. He won't have pleasant memories of Berlin though, having lost to Ronnie O'Sullivan from 4-0 up last year.

    Dott and Murphy are the strongest contenders for the other spot. They played each other in the 2nd round of the UK Championship, Murphy winning 6-2. He went on to reach the final, then added the Masters SF as well, so he is a bit like Robertson in that respect, still waiting for a big win this season. Well, waiting for a major title for quite a few years now. As is Dott, but Dott hasn't really been as present at the top of the game as Murphy in recent years. He has been known to play poorly against the more methodical players, so Harold could be a tricky 1st round opponent for him, although he really should go through on current form. Murphy could also be in trouble against Milkins, who can outplay most players on his day, and Murphy has had a number of 1st round exits like these over the last couple of seasons. Although it would of course be the 2nd round for him here. Murphy and Dott are also both former semi-finalists of this event. They will do well to reach that stage again, from this very tricky quarter.


    Quarter 3:

    J.Higgins/P.Lines v. Ken Doherty
    Ricky Walden v. Marco Fu
    Matthew Stevens v. Jamie Burnett
    S.Maguire/A.McManus v. Mark King

    It will be interesting to see how well John Higgins plays in this event. He wasn't as bad as Trump in the UK and the Masters, but I'm sure he expected more out of those two events. The way he lost must have been very disappointing, throwing away easy chances in his two defeats, after years of players mostly doing that against him. The only thing of any note in the first half of the season was his win in Shanghai, which is still better than most players have done, but I'm sure Higgins would prefer his usual consistency in reaching the business end of tournaments. He is one of the favourites here again. Doherty was a tricky opponent for him a couple of seasons ago, beating him in a couple of big matches, but I guess those days are over. The real dangers here are Walden and Fu, who meet in probably the most promising match of the round. I'm not sure who has the edge in their previous meetings, as I can't really remember any between the two, but they've both had some notable wins over Higgins in the past. Fu was supposed to play him in this event two years ago, but Higgins had to withdraw on that occasion, and Fu went on to reach the SF. Tough to call this one...

    A couple of good players in contention for the other spot... Let's start with Maguire, last year's runner-up and probably one of the worst top players of the season so far. It's a bit surprising really, because he finally looked like getting back to his best form towards the end of last season, when he reached two ranking finals and the SF at the Crucible, but it's back to his usual inconsistency now. He has matches where he looks very tough to bit, but he is struggling to string a couple like that together. He also seems to be getting more easily frustrated as he gets older, rather than calming down a bit. It's always tough to call with Maguire, if he plays like last year he could go through with a couple of whitewashes, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him out early either. Mark King can be very tricky in 1st rounds, as he is a bit of a specialist for knocking favourites out. Williams and Selby have been his favourite targets recently, and it could be Maguire's turn here. As for Stevens, well, his performance against Williams at the Masters was ridiculous, but I guess that's just the way Stevens plays when matches are there for the taking. He could certainly take advantage if Maguire is out of sorts, as could Jamie Burnett, who has already recorded ranking wins over Robertson and Selby this season.


    Quarter 4:

    M.Allen/N.Bond v. D.Dale/J.White
    Barry Hawkins v. Dechawat Poomjaeng
    Ding J./Liu C. v. Marcus Campbell
    M.Selby/T.Un-Nooh v. Joe Perry

    And finally, a very intriguing fourth quarter. Mark Allen and Barry Hawkins are the two seeds, both looking for a decent run here, after going out early in the UK and the Masters. It's a tricky draw for Allen, facing experienced players such as Bond and probably Dale. Having lived in Berlin, Dale might consider this him home tournament now, and he just might get some inspiration to play well. That being said, he hasn't really looked dangerous at any point this season, while Allen has played fairly well in most events, and just came up against some in-form players at the wrong time. Hawkins was certainly in the right place at the right time in Australia, but has since had to settle for a couple of wins here and there in the early rounds. I think he will reach the last16 here as well, and I would expect to him to beat anyone other than Allen. That's not to say that he can't beat Allen of course, but he would be second favourite. Looking back to the previous two stagings of this tournament, none of the players from this part of the draw have done anything of note, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

    The final part of the draw is potentially the most interesting, as it includes Ding Junhui, arguably the most dangerous player outside of the top8 seeds. He seems to land in Robertson's or Selby's quarter more often than not in recent times, in fact, all three of them were in the same quarter in the UK Championship. Ding's season has been full of early exits so far, and tough draws like this certainly don't help. Liu Chuang is the first player who could take him out. Quite a realistic option, considering Ding's poor record against other Chinese players. He lost to a Chinese player here last year as well, Yu Delu in the 1st round. Then there is Marcus Campbell, playing the best snooker of his career, even though he is now over 40. He played in his first ranking SF at the Wuxi Classic, so he is well capable of a good run here and there. And he seems to be a good traveler as well, playing well in several tournaments outside of the UK over the last couple of seasons. I'm sure it's Ding against Selby that most of us would love to see, and while Ding is the more likely of the two to let us down these days, Selby isn't a certainty either. Not only is he the winner of the previous major event, but the winner of the previous two, something that has been almost unheard of in the last decade. Selby now holds two of the three biggest titles in the sport, as well as the number one spot in the rankings, so he can be reasonably called the best player in the world at this point in time. And while he hasn't really won any of his titles as an underdog, he mostly hasn't won them as the big favourite either. He hasn't really enjoyed that role in the past, going out early a couple of times at the WC and the Masters, just as he was starting to look like the man to beat. I think the pressure will be on him at the Crucible this year, where he has a lot to prove, while he would be easily forgiven for an uninspired performance in this tournament, particularly after some of the hard-fought battles he went through in the last two months. I think Joe Perry is the man to take advantage here, if the chance presents itself. As for Selby against Ding, the repeat of last year's Welsh Open final, and indeed the repeat of many great battles between the two in the last few seasons, that could go either way, as usual. There is no psychological edge either way, and it's often been the player who was considered the underdog at the time that prevailed in the past. Form is with Selby, but hunger must surely be with Ding.


    Possible QF lineup:

    Judd Trump v. Mark Williams
    Stuart Bingham v. Shaun Murphy
    John Higgins v. Stephen Maguire
    Mark Allen v. Ding Junhui


    In any case, it's set up nicely for a great tournament. Not really a proper snooker week, but it should still be an excellent five days of snooker.

  • #2
    You seem to trust faithfully on Williams in your predictions, Odrl. I'm losing my hope on him. He's been playing crap for a while now. It's frustrating to see him struggling, he needs a confidence boost. Hope you're right, though...

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Looki View Post
      You seem to trust faithfully on Williams in your predictions, Odrl. I'm losing my hope on him. He's been playing crap for a while now. It's frustrating to see him struggling, he needs a confidence boost. Hope you're right, though...
      Yeah, Williams still looks like the man to beat in his part of the draw, more often than not. He is still a top8 player, so he gets one player ranked 9-16 drawn alongside him, and in the last two tournaments that was Ricky Walden and Martin Gould. It would be easier to bet against him if he was up against the likes of Carter or Ding.

      He has it as easy as it gets here really. It would have been Mark Davis, but even he's gone out. It almost feels like one of those quarters where O'Sullivan was supposed to play but pulled out.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Odrl View Post
        Yeah, Williams still looks like the man to beat in his part of the draw, more often than not. He is still a top8 player, so he gets one player ranked 9-16 drawn alongside him, and in the last two tournaments that was Ricky Walden and Martin Gould. It would be easier to bet against him if he was up against the likes of Carter or Ding.

        He has it as easy as it gets here really. It would have been Mark Davis, but even he's gone out. It almost feels like one of those quarters where O'Sullivan was supposed to play but pulled out.
        You're right, he's got pretty favorable draw. I hadn't even looked at it. But when he's struggling it seems anything (bad) can happen no matter who his opponent is. Well, we'll see.

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        • #5
          Not a great start this morning, Murphy wasn't really challenged against Woollaston. He was lucky that Woollaston missed so many sitters really, he could have easily been in trouble otherwise.

          This is the thing that has always annoyed me about this tournament. The main match finishes early and they just leave the cameras there and walk away. It would be so easy for someone to roll them two meters to the left and show us Ding against Liu.

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          • #6
            Am in the office, so am supposedly working today. I will be home in time to whack the evening match on though.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Odrl View Post
              Not a great start this morning, Murphy wasn't really challenged against Woollaston. He was lucky that Woollaston missed so many sitters really, he could have easily been in trouble otherwise.

              This is the thing that has always annoyed me about this tournament. The main match finishes early and they just leave the cameras there and walk away. It would be so easy for someone to roll them two meters to the left and show us Ding against Liu.
              That's true of a lot of tournaments on Eurosport.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by SnookerFan View Post
                That's true of a lot of tournaments on Eurosport.
                Are they the host broadcaster?

                It's really sloppy coverage in my opinion. I don't have a problem with them ending the TV coverage when the main match finishes, but at least point the camera at the other table and show it on streaming, as usual. That's all it takes to televise snooker really, point the camera at the table. I can even do without the graphic. They did do it some of the time in previous years, so I'm hoping for better in the next session.

                It seems completely illogical to only televise one table, especially when you have other events like the UK Championship and the Welsh Open shortened in the name of getting more matches on TV. And it's not as if it's logistically difficult in this setup.

                Speaking of the setup, I can't say I'm a big fan of it. The main table gets the most exciting match, but it's also the table furthest away from the audience, which somewhat kills the atmosphere. Why not just play on the four outside tables in the early stages, and televise two matches? It's also weird that this is the tournament where most of the action is pushed towards the weekend, presumably to get a good crowd in, and then we get a full arena on Wednesday morning. They could easily extend it for two more days and not rush it so much. But whatever, it's a good tournament in any case.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SnookerFan View Post
                  Am in the office, so am supposedly working today. I will be home in time to whack the evening match on though.
                  I take it they will be showing Trump vs Wattana tonight? Nice to see Wattana back on the box again..
                  "Statistics won't tell you much about me. I play for love, not records."

                  ALEX HIGGINS

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                  • #10
                    Yes trump is definitely the match televised this evening.

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                    • #11
                      Can anyone remember the last time Ding Junhui looked like a tournament winner in a big event? Granted had the reds split better he would have beat Robertson in the Masters first round.

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                      • #12
                        He played well in the PTC is Scotland a few weeks back and barring a very unlucky positional shot against Robertson in the Masters could well have gone on to reach the final himself and who knows what the outcome of that may have been. I think he's a good player that just seems to have lost his way a bit but surely he will come good again and win a major soon.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SnookerFan View Post
                          Am in the office, so am supposedly working today. I will be home in time to whack the evening match on though.
                          Haha same here Looking forward to watching some good snooker this evening...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Nice century from Un-Nooh, hopefully this will set the tone for how he plays for the rest of the match. I was worried he would just gift Selby the match after that missed sitter earlier.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It is about time for Ding to win something again I think, at he seems very happy at the moment even when losing at the masters in such a way. He knew he was one shot away from going through, problem for him recently is having dropped out of top 8 he faces those players sooner rather than later but as the new ranking will prove if you are good enough to win then you should win.

                              I think last years WC was his best so far so fingers crossed for him as I think if/when he wins the WC it will lift a weight of his shoulders (200 million watching back home must be some pressue).

                              He scrapped through before, i didn't see it but he was 4-3 and won so lets see how he plays against Campbell, both attacking players so should be good.

                              He was unlucky at the shoot-out also , no chance there and he was the fav for round 1.
                              If Allen can keep his form going I think he is going to have a cracking second half of the season, again unlucky not to get a chance really in the final at the shoot-out.

                              I'd put Allen as favourite for this week myself.

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