Shanghai Masters 2019 – Preview update after round 1

Round 1 of the Shanghai Masters just concluded, with a couple of really unexpected results. So, here is a short update of my preview.

Ronnie will face Zhang Yi tonight in China after the Chinese wildcard beat Ali Carter. On paper, Ronnie should have a straightforward passage to the next round. “On paper” is never a guarantee though as his defeat to James Cahill last April proved. But I’m reasonably confident. Ronnie seems to be in a good place and Zhang Yi is likely to be a bit overawed by the circumstances.

Thanks to Mark, we can now watch the full “left-handed” practice…

Another factor is that Ronnie tends to get bored and homesick when away for a long time. But, if the first part of this video is anything to go by, that won’t happen this time. He might be a bit distracted though…

Kyren Wilson will face Xiao Guodong in the last 16. Xiao is a good player but he’s not  Stephen Maguire on form. Kyren has now a much better chance to progress to the quarter-final than I expected at the start of the tournament.

John Higgins will play Barry Hawkins, who was impressive. If Barry plays the way he did in the first round, he’s certainly capable to upset John Higgins. Both of them are excellent all-rounders.

I still stand by the other predictions. In particular, if Ding plays exhibition-style like he did against Zhao Jianbo, he is a risk to be completely outplayed by Neil Robertson who usually doesn’t need too many chances.