SNOOKER specialist George Weyham (@GWSnookerTips) previews the 2020 German Masters from Berlin.
German Masters | 29th January – 2nd February 2020 | Eurosport
There are two ranking events on the snooker calendar that has been a bit of a nemesis to world number one and world champion Judd Trump where he is yet to win but has played in that tournament over half a dozen times.
The Welsh Open is one with no win in 14 attempts and the other, the German Masters, where he hasn’t won in nine visits. He broke a hoodoo at the World Open in November winning that event at the 13th time of asking so can he follow suit in Berlin’s magnificent setting of the Tempodrom this week?
It isn’t like he has a rotten record in the event overall – he’s lost in four quarter-finals (including last year), a semi-final and a final. He also had a 147 in his 2015 visit.
After his early blistering season form, Trump is due a revival after flopping in a few events. After the UK defeat to Nigel Bond then failing to qualify for the European Masters comes into Germany fresh, and on a mission to right the wrongs from another early exit at the Masters in London.
In that defeat to Shaun Murphy, he bagged three centuries, yet still walked out the loser. He didn’t seem too disappointed in his interview afterwards – he’s played a lot worse and won that’s for sure! But it’s the century angle, where I’m looking to have Trump onside this week.
Lets firstly take a look at his run to the final. He looks pretty short at a best price 9/4 (as short as 7/4) for the title but he has every right to be as on paper, has a soft draw. A year ago, Noppon Saengkham would be a real tester but on recent form, I can’t see how Trump loses this opener to the erratic Thai.
Joe Perry is likely to be the Last 16 opponent and Trump has had plenty of problems from him in the last four years. Perry might of only beaten Trump on six occasions from 19 but four have come since 2016, three of those ranking events. He should of beaten Judd at the recent World Open too, losing 5-4. Trump happened to beat Perry in this very round here two years ago so hopefully lightening strikes again.
His quarter-final foe could be any of Gerard Greene, Michael Georgiou, Sunni Akani or David Grace. All four are outside the world’s top 48 and not in Trump’s stratosphere. The third quarter’s highest rank is former winner here, Mark Williams but he comes here in dreadful form. It’s a big if he will make the semi-final, but if he did, I would fancy Trump all day long. Graeme Dott or Yuan Sijun look likelier opponents.
I said about a century angle, and Ladbrokes put up a special on Trump to win the tournament and hit over 6.5 centuries at 9/2.
So far this season, Trump has been the king of the centuries with 62 in 54 matches. That equates to a ton compiled in every four frames he wins. With 30 frames to win the title, if he keeps up his season tally here, he’s on for seven centuries this week which would bag the bet. He has three best of nine’s and has 17 tons from 14 matches in that format this season. Then it’s best-of-11 in the semi-final where it’s 18 tons in 15 matches this term.
There’s a fair chance in a best-of-17 final, he will hit two centuries so we require five in four matches prior – very doable. In our favour also is Judd absolutely loves making them. He will be targeting 100 centuries this season, something Neil Robertson did in 2013/14 (hit his 100th against Trump). On 12 occasions this season, in just best-of-nine or 11’s, he’s hit more than one century in a match – another positive.
Trump has done this feat before; in 2016, he hit seven tons in capturing the Players Championship and that was after winning just 26 frames, to show it can be done.
With more of a future goal on the centuries, he has a great chance of finally winning in Berlin, and I see no reason why he can’t clock seven centuries on top.
Robertson to feature in the final?
If Neil Robertson continues his ruthless form from Austria (won his 17th ranking title Sunday 9-0) and with what looks a very kind draw also, must fancy his chances of doubling up and taking a huge step towards the £150,000 bonus prize for topping the European Series rankings.
There’s no concerns about Robertson’s fitness as he’s mentally so strong. I see him facing Trump in the final where the Bristolian will be looking to avenge his defeat to the Aussie at the Champion of Champions. Robertson, like Trump, has never took the title in Germany before.
Georgiou to challenge the last-eight
The shortest price comes from Cyprus’ Michael Georgiou who looks decent value, even at 11/4 to make a ‘first’ career ranking quarter-final. He did win the Snooker Shoot-Out as a ranking event in 2018 but I’m talking in the proper format.
Georgiou made a big career change before the season started moving from South London where he had lived for 30 years, to Antrim in Northern Ireland where good friends Mark Allen and Jordan Brown live. He’s close to numerous main tour players like Ken Doherty, Shaun Murphy and Fergal O’Brien so it’s bit of a hot bed.
Georgiou is a class act who should thrive in his new surroundings. In qualifying for this, he beat Mark Joyce 5-0 and Martin Gould 5-2. He hit three centuries and four breaks over 50 in those comprehensive wins. I speak to Joyce regularly and he said in all of his 13 years as a pro, no one has ever played better against him than the way Georgiou did.
So he really has got it in his arsenal. OK, the Shoot-Out can be a total lottery but his performance in that, be it only one frame format, was utterly exemplary. It’s a shame he hasn’t kicked on but there’s no time like the present.
Mega experienced Gerard Greene is never an easy opener, and I would imagine the Northern Irelander has practised a bit with Georgiou. Greene has his limitations, and with only four wins this season (did beat Mark Allen to get here, mind) I expect Georgiou to have his number.
Georgiou is the highest ranked player in this mini section, so it doesn’t make sense Sunni Akani is the 13/8 fav to make the quarter-final. He arguably has just as tough a game in Leeds’ David Grace. Georgiou has never played Akani but leads Grace 4-0 in head-to-heads.
He’s favourite to beat Greene and in my book, would be favourite to beat whoever comes through so at 11/4, I fancy Georgiou to finally make a quarter-final berth outside of the Shoot-Out.
Chinese youngster to impress
Bit bigger in price, I think Yuan Sijun has been underestimated by Ladbrokes to gatecrash a quarter-final for the fourth time in his career. The 19-year-old is undoubtedly one of the best prospects in China.
Currently ranked 45, he will be a top 16 player in roughly five years. He reminds me very much of the European Masters finalist from Sunday, Zhou Yuelong (beat Zhou to qualify). He can be a touch naive in his decision making but that will soon be panned out when he gets more experience. His scoring has improved bundles in the last 12 months. Afraid of no one, he comes under the ‘could be anything’ banner.
He faces (I said earlier) out of sorts Mark Williams in the last 32 and an upset is definitely on the cards there. Williams lost to Zhou 5-4 in Austria last week and has looked devoid of any confidence for most of the season. Yuan has beaten Williams twice in his career already (leads 2-1 in head-to-heads, beat him once last year) which is a massive positive.
I would say in the Last 16, he’s likely to face ultra consistent Graeme Dott who has beaten Yuan on both occasions. But Yuan certainly won’t be a 15/2 shot to beat the former world champion. Bet365 go 17/2 on Yuan winning the quarter outright so the 15/2 on just making the quarter itself has to be deemed big value.
Williams at 15/8 to win this quarter is hands down one of the worst prices I’ve seen in a long while. It’s between Dott and Yuan for me, but the value lies with the Chinese.
Welsh prospect could out-perform odds
My last picks is firstly a shot in the dark on 14/1 shot Kishan Hirani to win his two games required against firstly Nigel Bond then either Matt Selt or Jamie Clarke.
This is the Welshman’s second season on tour and the furthest he’s reached in a ranking event. His two wins to get here, on paper, were harder than his first match Wednesday in Berlin; he defeated Sam Baird 5-4 and Andrew Higginson 5-3 – both are better and higher ranked than Bond.
Results wise, you can see he’s adjusting to life on tour now. If he is losing, he generally is competing whereas he really struggled last season.
He shouldn’t be fearing Bond that’s for sure, who bar the heroics at the UK when he defeated Trump, and made the quarter-final, has done next to nothing elsewhere so it’s a pick-em match for me. Under no circumstances, should there be such a huge differential in price between Bond and Hirani in this market.
Bond at 5/4 to make the quarter-final is utterly laughable when Hirani is 14/1. He has to be worth a few quid.
An opportunity for Clarke
Most would expect Selt (11/10 fav to make the quarter-final) to beat Hirani’s fellow countryman Clarke in the other Last 32 tie, but Clarke took out Mark Selby to qualify for this, winning 5-4, so a case has to be made for him also, at 17/2.
That win did come out the blue but showed what he’s capable of. He beat Selby at his own game too, grinding it out with only one break over 50. He was behind throughout the match so rubber stamping his gutsiness.
Bar a semi-final in Riga back in July, Selt hasn’t threatened in any event at all since and even though he might have plenty of takers at odds against as he is by far the highest ranked in the mini section, I don’t think he can be trusted.
This looks a real opportunity for Clarke and Hirani – both worth chancing to win two matches in a row, and with a bit of lady luck, they could even face off in the last 16 to guarantee a 14/1 or 17/2 winner.
German Masters – Judd Trump to win outright and hit Over 6.5 Centuries (9/2 Ladbrokes)
German Masters – Name The Finalists: Judd Trump v Neil Robertson (4/1 Bet365)
German Masters – Michael Georgiou to make the quarter-finals (11/4 Ladbrokes)
German Masters – Yuan Sijun to make the quarter-finals (15/2 Ladbrokes)
German Masters – Kishan Hirani to make the quarter-finals (14/1 Ladbrokes)
German Masters – Jamie Clarke to make the quarter-finals (17/2 Ladbrokes)