2016 Dafabet Masters Preview
January 08, 2016 18:18
This Sunday heralds the start of the 2016 Dafabet Masters at Alexandra Palace in London.
I thought it the ideal time to provide you with a little bit of a preview to this most prestigious of tournaments.
Last year, in what was a repeat of the 2012 final, Englishman Shaun Murphy defeated Australian Neil Robertson to take his first Masters crown. The final was very much a one-sided affair with Murphy taking the match 10 frames to 2.
Once again we come into The Masters with Robertson being one of the in form players having won both the UK Championship and the Champion of Champions in recent months. Murphy on the other hand has only reached one final so far this season when he lost Ali Carter in the German Euro Tour event back in August. However, Murphy always seems to raise his game for the big occasion and with more ranking events in the second half of the season than the first he, like many of the top players are building towards the World Championships.
The other player that will no doubt be backed by the fans (as well as the bookmakers) is the returning Ronnie O'Sullivan. The Rocket has once again taken a couple of months away from the game but did play, and win, the first Championship League group just this week.
He is a player that draws the crowds and also a player that is comfortable in the big match setting having won the Masters on no fewer than 5 occasions stretching back to 1995. His last victory was against Mark Selby two years ago. O'Sullivan starts against 1998 and 2003 champion in Mark Williams.
One of the greatest things about the Masters tournament is that it really is the in form players, the top 16 players in the world will compete for the prestigious trophy and a £200,000 winners cheque. Whilst it is said that the cream always rises to the top this in my opinion is one of the best Masters line ups in years.
Not only do we have the five former World and Masters Champions mentioned above, but you also have to add to the mix reigning World Champion Stuart Bingham and multiple World and Masters Champion John Higgins. Judd Trump, Stephen Maguire, Ding Junhui and Barry Hawkins are other very talented players that can easily cause an upset in this tournament.
For some reason I am fancying Mark Selby to win the event this year, this is nothing more than a gut feeling so may go and plonk £20 on him now!
Full 1st Round Draw
Shaun Murphy v Mark Allen
Barry Hawkins v Joe Perry
Judd Trump v Stephen Maguire
Neil Robertson v Marco Fu
Mark Selby v Ricky Walden
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Mark Williams
John Higgins v Liang Wenbo
Stuart Bingham v Ding Junhui
Who do you fancy to win the Masters this year, any of the other players due a decent run? Please answer in the comments.