Paul Krishnamurty previews Tuesday's matches from Alexandra Palace - both of which are rated 50/50 contests in the betting...
"In most recent Masters renewals, Robertson would have started well ahead in betting terms. He hasn't lost in the first round since 2010 and has twice been runner-up since winning the title in 2012."
Williams yet to recapture last season's magic
World champion Mark Williams gets his bid to land a third Masters title on Tuesday, 16 years after the last. He hasn't reached the final since but, as we learnt at the Crucible last May, that means nothing. Form is temporary, class is permanent.
Nevertheless form is our key indicator and Williams hasn't shown anything like last season's heroics this term. The jury is out regarding whether that was an Indian summer or a return to regular contention at the highest level.
In most recent Masters renewals, Robertson would have started well ahead in betting terms. He hasn't lost in the first round since 2010 and has twice been runner-up since winning the title in 2012.
Robbo is a contender at the highest level again
The Aussie missed last year after briefly falling out of the top-16 but is back in the top-ten now and hinting a return to his world-beating best. Although ruining many tournaments with one bad match, a lot of Robertson's snooker in 2018 was elite standard.
Mark Allen has been a nemesis this season, producing even better stuff in two high-class matches in the International final and at the UK Championship. Robertson played some of the best snooker at York and will take plenty of stopping if bringing the same standard to London.
Williams may need to be at his best and there's been little sign of that lately. The Aussie leads 6-3, by 28 frames to 14, in their head-to-head and deserves favouritism in my view.
Murphy close to his major-winning best
In another eyecatching head-to-head, Shaun Murphy leads Barry Hawkins 9-2, by 62 frames to 13. Irrespective of that, Murphy was always going to be a confident selection after the way he was playing before Christmas - he's also one of my outright picks.
Prior to that he'd done very little this term but has often been a slow starter and he clearly seemed to have found something working with a new coach. That sort of scoring - 17 fifties in his last four matches including nine tons - is what yielded all three major titles.
Hawkins on the other hand wasn't at his best during the autumn. He's a class act and beat Murphy here two years ago, so could easily turn around, but I don't regard this as a 50/50 match by any means.
Back Neil Robertson 5u @ [2.0]
Back Shaun Murphy 5u @ [2.0]