German Masters Snooker Preview: Two players to back from each quarter

The German Masters starts this morning, with comprehensive coverage throughout on Betfair Live Video. Here's Paul Krishnamurty's preview...

  • Uneven draw could produce upset

  • Murphy in promising form

  • Brown and Zhengyi capable of second win

I won't deny, the last event left me feeling somewhat deflated. From a strong position through the early rounds, and then Judd Trump 4-0 up in the World Grand Prix final, it was gutting to end up without a return. Ultimately the Goat was just too good.

Hope springs eternal, however, for those of us looking to take on short odds and for the rest of the pack. Ronnie O'Sullivan is not in the German Masters field, which starts this morning in Berlin. As always, you can follow the action live on Betfair Live Video.

With all due to respect to the event - it is the one I would most like to attend which I haven't already, to savour the unique experience of the Tempodrom - it is a second-grade affair, compared to those it sandwiches on the schedule. Following the Masters and World Grand Prix, and before the Welsh Open, one always gets the feeling the top players are less keen to make this trip abroad.

A good opportunity for outsiders

Consequently, it is ripe for upsets. The last two finals were far from predictable. Anthony Hamilton and Martin Gould landed two big-odds upsets here in the past decade. Ali Carter, never the most prolific winner, has landed this title twice and is the defending champion.

Back Shaun Murphy 2.5u e/w @ 12/113.00

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Whilst Carter has been in fine form of late, he just isn't a player I'd consider at 20/1 and, as he takes the number one seeding, is worth taking on in the top quarter. Both the other two big-guns - Shaun Murphy and Mark Williams - a preferred.

Murphy gets the nod. He takes his WPBSA role seriously and can be expected to treat a lesser tournament with respect. He's made the semis four times here, once as runner-up, and is generally a better player in the second half of the season.

We saw Shaun step up his form at the Masters and he looked very strong at the World Grand Prix before being surprisingly blitzed by Cao Yupeng. I expect him to take care of lesser opposition in the early rounds and still be standing when other heavyweights have bitten the dust.

Back Pang Junxu 0.75u @ 50/151.00

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My second pick in this section is Pang Junxu. The 23 year-old has beaten most of the top players already and remains one to follow. Around this time last year he reached the Welsh semis and WST final.

Take on Trump in tough section

Another reason I'm keen to go for outsiders here is that the draw is very uneven. Take this second section. It includes Trump, Mark Allen, John Higgins (who has a bye in the first round), bang-in-form Zhang Anda, overdue first-time winner Zhou Yuelong plus several very capable outsiders.

Back Zhang Anda 1u e/w @ 28/129.00

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Bearing in mind this event is also far from a top priority for the likes of Trump and Allen, I'm happy to look elsewhere. Anda is a price that would have been unimaginable in previous seasons but, whilst he keeps on reaching the latter stages, we must assume this is more than merely a hot streak. I expect him to make at least the last-16.

Back Joe O'Connor 0.25u e/w @ 200/1201.00

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With one eye on keeping stakes down in this section, throw a few pennies in Joe O'Connor at 200/1. He remains one of the best prospects outside the top-16, and an excellent match player. For his career best, reaching the 2022 Scottish Open final, he came through a brutal draw. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that he does so again.

Selby worth opposing again

The bottom half of the draw looks decidedly weaker. Mark Selby is top of the betting list but he hasn't gone past the last-16 since winning this title in 2015. He will never appeal in a lesser event at single figure odds. Nevertheless, his path is easier than usual.

Back Chris Wakelin 0.75u e/w @ 50/151.00

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There isn't much to choose between the rest in this section, so I'll go for a couple of solid match players. Chris Wakelin has come on leaps and bounds and is creeping up the rankings thanks to a win at the Shootout last year and a run to the Northern Ireland final this term.

Back Jordan Brown 0.75u e/w @ 175/1176.00

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175/1 about Jordan Brown looks way too big. The Northern Irishman is a ranking event winner - famously downing O'Sullivan in the Welsh Open - and not in bad form this term, reaching the semis of the International Championship. Among an impressive series of scalps there was David Gilbert, whom he now leads 4-0 in their head-to-head and faces first up here.

My shortlist for the bottom quarter was anything but. Two big-guns are very happily opposed. I want to see evidence of Neil Robertson and Luca Brecel showing at least 75% of their best before even considering them. Barry Hawkins is an obvious contender but another rare winner at shorter odds than would appeal.

Wilson can thrive in Germany again

Kyren Wilson has also been badly out of form and I can hear the groans of regular readers about his inclusion again. I must add though that recent events he has shown glimmers of really good form, only to throw it all away. That is out of character and I'm sure he is ultra-determined to turn a terrible season around. This level of event is perfect for him, the draw is fair, and Kyren has a great record in Germany to draw inspiration from.

Back Kyren Wilson 3u @ 16.015/1

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Finally, among several outsiders with similar claims, try Fan Zhengyi. Two years ago, Fan produced the biggest upset in snooker history, beating O'Sullivan in the European Masters final. He landed five big-odds upsets in a row that week and, whilst inconsistent, has shown plenty on other occasions, for example when reaching two quarter-finals earlier in the season. He's well capable of coming through this draw.

Back Fan Zhengyi 0.25u e/w @ 125/1126.00

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*Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

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