The first day at the 2022 German Masters, the first day of tournament play outside the UK in nearly two years, threw some unexpected results, most notably the early exits of both Neil Robertson and Mark Williams.
It also allowed Dave Hendon to come up with one of those dark statistics he so loves: Kyren Wilson had been the last player to lose a match outside the UK before this event and became the first player to win a match outside the UK by beating Jimmy Robertson by 5-1 in this event.
Wilson Aiming To Honour Parker In Berlin
Kyren Wilson is off to a winning start in Berlin after a 5-1 defeat of Jimmy Robertson at the BildBet German Masters. He later admitted he has an extra incentive for success to honour his former manager Brandon Parker, who sadly passed away in 2020.
Parker, who was a WST Director, took the German Masters to the Tempodrom when it was first staged there in 2011. Since then enthusiastic crowds have regularly hit the 2,500 mark and the event has become a highlight on the snooker calendar. As a result, the German Masters trophy was named after Parker.
Wilson won the 2019 German Masters after beating David Gilbert 9-7 in an enthralling title match. It was the last time he lifted ranking event silverware with Parker by his side.
This year’s tournament is the first trip to Berlin since the 2020 edition. The coronavirus pandemic forced proceedings behind closed doors in Milton Keynes 12 months ago.
The Warrior produced an inspired display this evening to ease into the last 16. Kettering’s Wilson fired in breaks of 58, 64, 94 and 117 on his way to victory in just under an hour and 45 minutes. He now faces Craig Steadman as he continues his quest for the Brandon Parker Trophy. Steadman defeated Michael Georgiou 5-2.
“I know that his wife Charlotte is coming over and presenting the trophy. I would love to be the person she is presenting that to. It is really important to make sure he is remembered for this tournament, because we are very lucky to have it,” said 30-year-old Wilson.
“It was really tough walking through the venue actually. There is a dressing room near the player’s lounge and I can remember speaking to Brandon in there before my final with Dave. He was talking me through how to keep calm. I actually went in there today to put my bow tie on in the mirror and realised that is one of my most cherished memories of him. It is great to be back here and have the fans back. I really hope that Brandon’s name his echoed around the arena this week.”
UK Champion Zhao Xintong put on a fine display to beat an in form Mark Williams 5-3.
China’s Zhao defeated the likes of John Higgins, Barry Hawkins and Luca Brecel on his way to sensationally landing a maiden Triple Crown win at the UK Championship in December.
The talented 24-year-old stamped his authority on three-time World Champion Williams early on, moving 3-1 ahead at the mid-session.
When play resumed Williams surged back into contention. Runs of 65 and 61 saw him draw level at 3-3. However, Zhao showed his steel and composed breaks of 89 and 70 to cross the line a 5-3 victor. Next up he faces Tom Ford who defeated Stephen Maguire 5-2.
Ricky Walden secured a shock 5-3 win over recently crowned Masters champion Neil Robertson.
It’s the second time Walden has beaten the Australian this season, having also secured a 4-1 win during his run to the semi-finals of the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open back in October.
Walden produced a superb blitz to the line from 3-2 down this evening. Breaks of 71, 79 and 124 saw him take three on the bounce to secure the 5-3 victory. He now faces a last 16 tie with Luca Brecel.
Brecel booked his place in the last 16 with a 5-3 defeat of Zhang Anda, while Zhou Yuelong defeated Anthony McGill 5-2.
Kyren will not be the only player struggling with the memories of Brandon Parker this week and wanting to honour him. Shaun Murphy will surely find it difficult as well.
For most of it, the Robertson v Walden match was an error strewn affair as both players struggled with the pace of the table. It’s easy to forget how good Ricky can bee when on form. He was a top 8 player before injuries ruined it for him. He’s also very good to watch when in full flow. I am happy for him and that’s nothing against Neil who I like as well.
When Zhao lost early in the 2021 Scottish Open, then in the 2022 Masters and World Grand Prix, some were prompt at branding his UK win a “flash in the pan”. But he played a really good match yesterday to beat Mark Williams. It was a mature performance. He’s only young and needs to adjust to his recently gained “top player” status and the expectations that come with it.
Zhou Yuelong’s win over Anthony McGill definitely put an end to Ant’s hopes to play in the Players Championship.