The first ranking event of the year started yesterday in the Tempodrom, Berlin Germany. Mark Williams is the defending champion. Eight matches were played.
Heres is the tournament preview
All pictures by O.Behrendt / contrast
World number five Trump won the Masters ten days ago, beating Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final, and maintained his momentum by setting up a match with Yan Bingtao in Berlin.
Breaks of 55 and 94 helped give Trump a 4-1 lead tonight at the Tempodrom. Li pulled one back with a 105 and had several chances to win frame seven, but it came down to a respotted black and Trump converted an excellent long pot to a baulk corner to seal victory.
“With so many tournaments coming up it’s important to keep my confidence,” said 29-year-old Trump, chasing his tenth ranking title. “I can’t afford to be careless, I need to keep winning as many matches as possible. The Masters was massive but there are no small events any more, every one I play in I want to win.
“Looking back on the Masters, it’s by far the best I have consistently played against that level of opponent. I kind of breezed through, I was always in control in every match, which is a rare thing in snooker. The final was one of the easier ones I’ve won and it was nice to be able to enjoy it.”
Defending champion Mark Williams, the only player to win this title twice in Berlin, got the better of China’s Zhou Yuelong 5-3. Welshman Williams made top breaks of 127 and 76 as he booked a meeting with Joe Perry.
“I was a bit ropy, a bit scrappy, there was a lot of snatching going on,” said world number two Williams. “But it’s a good win because he’s a really good player. This is a superb venue, it’s a close as you can get to the old Wembley Conference Centre.
“This is the time when I said I’m going to practise really hard and knuckle down. The only tournament I’m really looking forward to playing in is the World Championship. To be there with my kids, seeing me introduced as defending champion, I can’t wait for it. Hopefully over the tournaments coming up I can get some form going.”
Perry came from 4-1 down to edge out Sam Baird 5-4 with top runs of 52 and 57 while Yan Bingtao saw off Matthew Stevens 5-3 with a top break of 113. Stephen Maguire top scored with 118 in a 5-1 defeat of Michael Georgiou.
Veteran Peter Ebdon, age 48, scored an impressive 5-3 win over Shaun Murphy with runs of 69, 62 and 109. Kyren Wilson won the last three frames to beat Rory McLeod 5-3.
Robert Milkins recovered deficits of 3-1 and 4-3 to edge out Barry Hawkins 5-4. That result keeps alive Milkins’ hopes of qualifying for next week’s Coral World Grand Prix in Cheltenham. If he now beats Maguire he will go ahead of Gary Wilson into 32nd place on the one-year ranking list. Zhou, Baird, Li, McLeod and Georgiou are out of the running having lost today. For the latest on that race click here.
Now, I have to say, this report baffles me a bit when it comes to Judd Trump. How can he draw any confidence from yesterday’s “performance” is beyond my understanding because the truth is that he played badly all match, very badly. His only saving grace was that Li Hang somehow managed to play even worse. At MSI Trump had 84% pot success, Li Hang was in te low 70th. Frankly, had he played that way against Ronnie at Ally Pally, it would have been 10-4 the other way around, bad as Ronnie was on that day. Actually is was even hilarious at times, it was that bad. Judd Trump was very lucky not to get a hammering yesterday… maybe he’s been taking a leaf out of Willo’s book and been cemlebrating for the last ten days?
Mark Williams didn’t play well either; in particular he missed a lot of balls in the middle pockets.
As I didn’t see any of the other matches, I can’t really comment, but apparently, going by twitter comments, Shaun Murphy was playing badly as well, which he has done for most of the season actually.