German Masters: Back Jackpot to frame Welsh outsider

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SNOOKER specialist George Weyham (@GWSnookerTips) previews the best bets from the 1st Round matches ahead of the 2019 German Masters.

Jack Lisowski v Duane Jones | Thursday 31st January 2019, 14:00

World rank number 16, Jack Lisowski, will be looking for some ‘bouncebackability’ this week in Berlin, following a tough schooling by Ding Junhui on his debut at the Masters.

The Gloucester lad was defeated 6-1 but lost three close frames (two on the black) which ultimately ‘cooked his goose’. This will be an event he will be targeting for sure, to finally break his ranking title duck. He has the draw to cause some damage, that’s for sure.

On Thursday, he opens up against Wales’ Duane Jones, who is currently ranked 90 in the world rankings and a 2000/1 rank outsider for the tournament. He’s the lowest-ranked player here in Germany.

Since late November 2017, Jones has played five top 16 players – he’s lost them all, by an aggregate of 27-5. He’s played a further three top 32 players in that time and lost them all also, by an aggregate of 15-2. So it totals 42-7 against top 32 players in just over a year.

Considering three of those seven came against Judd Trump in late February 2017, he’s ultimately got a shocking record when upped into the top class of snooker.

Here is Jones’ results against the top 32 players since 27th November 2017:

  • 0-6 Maguire
  • 0-4 Bingham
  • 1-4 Lisowski
  • 1-5 Higgins
  • 0-4 Fu
  • 3-4 Trump
  • 0-4 O’Sullivan
  • 1-6 Walden (now outside, at 34 but was inside when he faced Jones)
  • 1-5 Wenbo

888 go 7/4 on Lisowski -3.5 frames – that looks good value in this best of nine contest. Jones would have lost by this -3.5 handicap in all his previous four best of nine or 11 matches versus top 32 players in the past 14 months.

If Lisowski gets on a roll, he’s very capable of giving anyone a pounding and reeling off frame after frame. He’s won 16 times this season by conceding either one or no frames.

I expect a comfortable start for Jack, either 5-0 (11/2) or 5-1 (10/3).

John Higgins v Yuan Sijun | Thursday 31st January 2019, 14:00

Consistency wise, most of the Chinese players on tour are having average seasons. Zhou Yuelong is one exemption, another is Yuan Sijun – he’s won 17 times this season from 26 matches – in the whole of last season he won eight from 25.

The 18 year-old has a big future in the game. Of the lower echelon ranked players, there aren’t many better scorers than Sijun, with 58 breaks over 50, including three centuries.

He faces John Higgins on Thursday in what would of looked at the start of the season as a comfortable victory for the Scot. Things have changed since then. Higgins has threatened retirement on a few occasions after some drab performances. Bar a run to the China Championship final in September, Higgins is having one of the poorest campaigns of his 27-year career.

He said the following after defeat at the UK Championship in December:

“I will have a good think (about retiring) at the end of this season. Because I'm not going to put myself through this, the way I'm feeling. Not putting any effort into the game, and you know you're not going to get anywhere in the game, doing that. It's going to be a big six months.”

Big, indeed. He certainly didn’t look back to himself at the Masters losing in a decider to Ryan Day. Overall, it was a poor performance (one break above 50). He kept himself alive with his well renowned ‘knowhow’ of how to win frames when playing average.

I don’t think a lot has changed in his mindset. A trip to Germany, I’m sure, isn’t something he’s particularly relishing. He didn’t bother qualifying for it last season, and the previous two seasons, he failed to qualify for the venue.

Yuan Sijun will be chomping at the bit for this encounter. He loves playing the top players. This season he’s beaten Ding, Mark King, Kyren Wilson, Xiao Guodong (twice) and Mark Allen – all top 32 players. He’s pushed Neil Robertson close also.

This won’t be very significant in the grand scheme of things, but in 2015 at the 6 Reds World Championship, when Yuan was 15, he defeated John Higgins 5-4. Thursday is obviously a different ball game with 15 reds but importantly, Yuan is 10 times a better player now with three more years experience.

At 5/2 (BlackType), the exciting world number 65 is well worth a go to knock another dent into the ‘Wizard of Wishaw’s’ heart.

Best Bets

Jack Lisowski v Duane Jones – Jack Lisowski -3.5 frames handicap (7/4 888)

John Higgins v Yuan Sijun – Yuan Sijun to win (5/2 BlackType)

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