German Masters and IPA World Blackball Start Today
It is a very busy week this week in the world of Cue Sports with both the German Masters snooker and the IPA Professional Blackball World Championships both taking place.
The German Masters
It is still testament to World Snooker and I think to some degree the excellent Eurosport coverage that has seen a full-fledged ranking event descend on Germany.
The tournament first took place as a ranking event back in 2011 so is enjoying it's sixth successive year. There has been huge growth in snooker in mainland Europe over those six years so it is fantastic to see the event keep it's status.
The image (by Monique Limbos) shows the arena layout in the fantastic Berlin Tempodrom for the 2012 addition of the tournament. What is also very good to see is that each ranking event is being allowed to have it's own identity, the arena layout at the German Masters allows some of the best viewing for spectators as they can get a glimpse of 5 tables in action at once.
32 players have made it to the arena stage of the tournament and the early rounds are the usual best-of-9 frames.
Steven Hallworth of England is one of the lowest ranked players to make it to this stage and the 20-year-old is currently ranked 98th in the world. He has the daunting first-round task of coming up against World Number 1 Mark Selby. He actually won only his third match of the season to reach the TV stages in Berlin.
The flat draw system in qualifying has thrown up a few interesting players for this event as world number 99 Alfie Burden also qualifies along with Chinese amateur Zhao Xintong.
World Champion Stuart Bingham along with the likes of Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy and Barry Hawkins will be some of the higher ranked players to look out for.
£60,000 will be awarded to the winner on Sunday which is not just pocket change, it will help a number of these players climb the rankings in advance of April's world championships.
IPA Professional Blackball World Championships
This tournament enters it's second year today as players from the world of Blackball descend on Bradford in Yorkshire for the IPA Professional World Championships.
In an interesting twist the defending champion, Jack Whelan, has not been seeded due to not having sufficient ranking points from the main tour events. He is faced with a first preliminary round tie against Reading's David Hood.
Other notable names that feature in the first prelim round are former World Champion Ben Davies, cue maker extraordinaire Jason Owen and professional snooker player Tom Ford.
It is a daunting prospect for anyone coming from this round as they will have to play a second prelim game before meeting a top 32 seeded player in the last 64.
Those seeds include number one ranked player Neil Raybone, Gareth Hibbott, Andy Lucas, Ronan McCarthy, Christophe Lambert, Craig Marsh and Simon Ward amongst some other very good blackball players.
As well as the main singles event there is also a World Doubles, World Ladies and a World Seniors event.
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