SNOOKER analyst George Weyham (@GWSnookerTips) takes a look at the European Masters qualifiers, highlighting an eye-catching trixie.
Rory McLeod v Lukas Kleckers | Saturday 18th August 2018, 13:00
After a poor first season on the main tour that saw German Lukas Kleckers win only one ranking event match (a win over Neil Robertson of all people in his first match), he's seemingly turned a corner this term by doubling last seasons win total already.
His best performance came in defeat in Yushan when he lost to current World champion Mark Williams 5-4, from 4-3 up. Williams obviously went on to win the World Open starting with this win over Kleckers. So it certainly gave the 22-year-old from Essen a form boost.
He lost on the black 4-3 on Thursday night to qualify for India to Scott Donaldson. That would of hurt but he's been in every match he's competed in so far this season so he's playing well.
He plays Rory McLeod at 1pm Saturday. Lukas will have to be patient as McLeod is one of the slowest players on tour (took over four hours to qualify for India) – he will try to take him out his rhythm.
I think though, at 5/4, Kleckers is a touch of value. He's an improving type for sure. He's competed with and beaten better players than McLeod this season already. The German gets my vote.
Simon Lichtenberg v Adam Duffy | Saturday 18th August 2018, 16:00
There's only two Germans on tour and I fancy Kleckers' countryman Simon Lichtenberg to get the better of former pro Adam Duffy. Lichtenberg, the current European Under 21 champion, has held his own so far in his first season as a professional.
He has one win, and a big one at that, defeating 1997 world champion Ken Doherty 5-2. I've heard him in a few interviews and he's very level headed, has a relaxing manner, and wants to enjoy the experience this season.
He plays Adam Duffy, who dropped off the tour last season and failed to regain his spot at Q-School. Duffy has a more experience than Lichtenberg hence he's favourite here.
However, I didn't forsee him being such a strong favourite with the bookies. Duffy played 11 best of sevens last season and lost in eight of them. He's been invited to play in three pro events this season and has lost all three. This is his best chance of victory, however he's very used to losing so I'm going to favour youth over experience here.
I think 2/1 on a Lichtenberg win is overpriced.
Ken Doherty v Kurt Maflin | Saturday 18th August 2018, 19:00
Lastly, I like Ken Doherty to defeat Kurt Maflin at a shade of odds-against. He's yet to win a match this season (two surprise losses), however if he can muster the form he showed, especially at the start of last season where he made a ranking semi final, the 48-year-old Dubliner can get his first win on the board here.
I feel this match could be won or lost in the tactical department and there's not too many better than ‘Crafty Ken'.
To be truthful, I've not recently seen many worse than Maflin. Kurt is fine when around the black spot but usually has no answer to any player in the safety battles. Plus he's on a poor run himself (a three match losing run).
I've watched him twice this season on live streams and in both games he's self-destructed. Losing 4-1 to Eden Sharav on Thursday was a shocking result. This is the perfect time for Doherty to be playing Maflin. I don't think he'll need the luck of the Irish either!
Doherty at 11/10 is my final pick for the trixie.
Rory McLeod v Lukas Kleckers – Kleckers to win
Simon Lichtenberg v Adam Duffy – Lichtenberg to win
Ken Doherty v Kurt Maflin – Doherty to win
Back the trixie (13/2 Betfair)