SNOOKER specialist George Weyham (@GWSnookerTips) previews Sunday's action from the 2020 Masters at Alexandra Palace.
Ding Junhui v Joe Perry | Sunday 12th January 2020, 13:00 | BBC
This pair first met in this event in 2004 with Ding (then as a wildcard) coming out the victor, 6-3. Perry has since got his revenge in this, twice, in 2015 and 2017.
If you ignored Ding’s magical performance at the Barbican in December, and form pre-Christmas, in the reliability stakes, you would have to favour the Cambridge man in this contest. You know exactly what you will get from Joe, as reliable as they come, whereas Ding has had many more off days than good the last few years.
That said, in Perry’s nine appearances in the Masters, he’s lost first match seven times. This is Ding’s 16th appearance and he’s lost in seven of his opening matches too. He’s only bypassed the quarter-final three times so even though he’s a past winner, (in 2011) it’s not been a happy hunting ground.
Something has got to give here. It looks a match to enjoy rather than bet on, if I’m being honest. Perry might have his takers at just over 2/1 but all in all, it’s the price I thought he would be. I would favour Ding, narrowly.
Ding’s century count since the start of the UK Championship has been very impressive. In 14 matches (winning 13), he’s compiled 17 tons. In this best-of-11, he’s bound to get a good chance somewhere to add to that tally but 8/13 on him bagging one or more is correct.
Predicted score: Ding 6-4
Ali Carter v Mark Selby | Sunday 12th January 2020, 19:00 | BBC
Ali Carter got an early Christmas present at the end of last year, bagging Ronnie O’Sullivan’s place in the field and no matter what the result is against Mark Selby, takes home £15k.
It’s nearly 10 years since Carter beat Selby in a ‘meaningful’ event, and given the Captain’s dreadful record in the Masters (nine first-round defeats in 11 appearances) I don’t like his chances here. In contrast, Selby, entering for the 13th year in a row, has only three first-round losses.
After winning the event in three of his first six years, Selby hasn’t made the semi-final in the past five years so is really due a good run. If he gets to the semi-final, he’ll be putting an unbeaten last-four record on the line (won five from five). Believe it or not, it’s actually seven triple crown events without a win for Selby since his 2017 world title. You would never have believed that in May 2017, would you?!
Selby won the final ranking event of the past decade at the Scottish Open so comes here in the best shape his game has been in for three years, hence he looks to have as good a chance as any this week ahead.
Carter hasn’t made a quarter-final this season, is lucky to be here and looks a lamb to the slaughter for the Jester in the round he usually excels in.
Predicted score: Selby 6-2