2022 German Masters – Day 3

Yesterday saw the conclusion of the last 16 round, in the afternoon, and the completion of the quarter-finals round in the evening. It was an interesting, and thrilling day of snooker. Here are the reports by WST:

Afternoon session:

Yan Rallies To Beat Selby

Yan Bingtao rallied from 4-2 down to beat Mark Selby 5-4 at the BildBet German Masters, ending the World Champion’s hopes of qualifying for the upcoming Players Championship.

Selby needed to progress to remain in the hunt for a place at the Wolverhampton based event, which is reserved for only the 16 top players on this season’s one-year list.

Despite occupying the top of the world rankings, Selby currently finds himself in 18th position in terms of this season’s money list.

Former Masters champion Yan produced a gutsy break of 95 to remain in the contest in the seventh frame, making it 4-3. He then pulled off a superb clearance from brown to pink, which included two doubles, to force a decider.

It was Selby who looked set for victory when he led 47-0. However, he inadvertently knocked in a red whilst going into the pack off the blue. Yan ruthlessly pounced with 69 to secure the win. He faces Ryan Day in this evening’s quarter-finals. Day thrashed Sam Craigie 5-1 this afternoon.

Mark Allen edged out close friend Shaun Murphy 5-3 in another thrilling contest, which was clinched on the black in the eighth frame.

Defeat for Murphy also ends his hopes of qualifying for the Players Championship, while Allen progresses to face China’s Fan Zhengyi in this evening’s quarters. Fan reached the first ranking quarter-final of his career thanks to a 5-3 win over Andrew Higginson.

Allen crafted breaks of 118, 116 and 99 on his way to establishing a 4-2 advantage. However, a break of 85 saw Murphy take the seventh and remain in the contest.

Murphy had looked to be in position to force a decider before breaking down on a run of 63. Allen eventually cleared to the black and edged to victory.

Here is the last frame of the Yan v Selby match shared by ES on their YouTube channel

This was a hell of a match but not one for those who are after blitz action and sending balls three times around the table every shot. It was a very tactical slow burning affair. Yan showed incredible resilience. As mentioned above, defeat for Mark Selby means that he will not be in the Players Championship this season. The match was extremely long: the players had the Tempodrom for themselves for more than an hour after the end of all the other matches in that session.

Fan Zhengyi reaching the quater-finals might prove very important come the end of the season. Indeed, as it stands, he’s currently joined first with Oliver Lines in the group of four players who would be awarded a new tour card based on thei season results. Fan had never been past the last 32 of any event before this week. Big congratulation to him.

Evening session:

Zhao Overpowers Trump To Reach Semis

UK Champion Zhao Xintong put on an inspired display to beat Judd Trump for the first time in his career, easing through by a 5-1 scoreline at the BildBet German Masters in Berlin.

The only other previous meetings between the pair came at the 2018 English Open and the 2020 Championship League, with Trump getting the better of both encounters. Today’s win over Trump sees Zhao make the semi-finals of a ranking event for only the third time.

China’s Zhao has experienced rapid rise to the top of the sport this season. Just four years ago he was relegated from the circuit and forced to regain his place at 2018 Q School.

However, the 24-year-old sensationally captured maiden Triple Crown silverware at the UK Championship earlier in the campaign, beating Luca Brecel in the final.

Zhao had already been displaying signs of his best form this week after beating Mark Williams 5-3 and Tom Ford 5-1. Breaks of 57, 57, 59, 58, 52 and 84 saw the Cyclone speed to victory against 22-time ranking event winner Trump this evening. He now progresses to the single table semi-finals, where he will face Ricky Walden.

“It is amazing. I can’t believe it. When I got the last frame I didn’t think I’d won. I had to check it wasn’t a best of 11 game. I am very happy,” said world number nine Zhao. “Judd is the best player in the world, so this match is a big deal for me. I can have more confidence to win more matches now.

“Winning the UK Championship was very important for me. I think I’ve grown up and I’m playing better than last year. I am confident now and I believe that I can do it.

“I am so happy to be in the semi-finals in the best venue in the world. I hope that I can play well and I will enjoy it tomorrow.”

Walden booked his progression with a 5-1 defeat of former German Masters winner Kyren Wilson.

The Chester cueman has been enjoying a strong season and a return to form following several years plagued by back problems. He also reached the semi-finals at the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open earlier in the campaign.

Walden composed breaks of 60, 61, 74, 63 and 69 on his way to this evening’s victory.

Mark Allen made the last four of the German Masters for the first time in his career with a quick-fire 5-0 whitewash win over Fan Zhengyi, who was competing in his maiden ranking quarter-final.

The Pistol had endured a torrid run of results in Berlin, having previously not won a match at the Tempodrom since 2015. However, wins over Lyu Haotian, close friend Shaun Murphy and today’s victory have rectified that.

Allen made contributions of 86, 59, 69, 52 and 68 during this evening’s rout and will face Yan Bingtao in the semis.

Allen said: “I’ve heard so much about the one table setup and what the atmosphere is like here on Saturday and Sunday. I’m really excited to go out and experience that. Hopefully that will spur me on to do well but I came here to win the tournament.

“I want to play on the biggest stages against the best players. I’m sure a lot of guys will say the same things. It can either inspire you or make you crumble. I’ve crumbled a few times in the past but I’d like to think it has inspired me more often. The German crowd are so good and I’ve given them nothing the other times I’ve been in Berlin. It would be nice to give them something to shout about over the weekend.”

Yan came through two dramatic deciders today to book his place in the semi-finals. The former Masters champion defeated Mark Selby 5-4 this afternoon, having trailed 4-2. He was also 4-3 behind this evening against Ryan Day, but again showed his steel by taking the last two frames to run out a 5-4 victor.

Zhao comfortably outplayed Judd Trump. I’m sick and tired hearing Philip Studd going about Judd Trump being the “best player in the World for about two and a half years”. No, he is not.  He has been the dominant player on tour during the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons but, by his then standard, he has done very litlle since winning the 2021 German Masters – behind closed doors in Milton Keynes – a year ago. The fact that he’s 14th on the current one year list is proof of that. He has only won one ranking title in the last year: the low-key Gibraltar Open, that is basically a PTC, being best of 7 from start to finish. And even that was a while ago: it was on the first week of March 2021. Yes, he won the invitational 2021 Champion of Champions, but he has not progressed past the QFs in any ranking event in the last 10 months.

Zhao now sits pretty at the top of the one year list, a 48000 points cushion separating him form Luca Brecel, second.

Mark Allen had far too much for Fan. The young Chinese was probably a bit tired as well: he’s not used to play in the latter stages of events in front of big crowds, and this was his second match of the day. Mark Allen scored heavily. The worse of his legal concerns are  behind him, he’s hungry and his focus is on his snooker again. That makes him very dangerous.

Ricky Walden’s win means that as it stands now, Ronnie is set to play Judd Trump in the first round of the coming Players Championship. That could still change if Mark Allen was to win the title tomorrow as he would climb to third in the one year list. Should that happen, he would then play Judd whilst Ronnie would face Gary Wilson.

Also, Neil Robertson came on social media yesterday, sharing the news that he is ill with covid-19 and is “feeling crap”. Of course, I hope that it will not get too bad and that he will recover quickly and fully. That’s the most important thing. However, in case Neil would not feel well enough to play in the Players Championship, that would open a spot for Mark Selby who currently occupies the 17th place in the one year list.



3 thoughts on “2022 German Masters – Day 3

  1. I feel for Selby and his problems, but I am happy he did not push Barry Hawkins out of his Nr 16 status. It is bad enough Barry got no points for his Master runner-up performance. Maybe it is bad that the WST looks at certain tournaments as collecting points to other ones, but that’s the way it is and it was extremely painful 2 years ago that Ronnie ended up playing the Shootout and still could not play at the Players’ and the Tour, both of where he was (would have been) defending champion.

    I agree there is no dominant player his season and if anyone is the best now, that’s Robertson (best wishes to him to get healthy soon). As to Ronnie playing Trump in the first round of the Players: I’m certainly not happy about it, even though Monique is right that the way Trump plays makes it a great opportunity. I don’t know why I feel Ronnie has some block against him (he made some incomprehensible decisions when playing him in the NI final last year. I would certainly find it very painful if he were to lose to whom I regard the most unpleasant player on the Tour (he might be a very nice guy in private life, but my impression is formed by his public persona).

  2. As you know, I don’t believe in this “ranking tournament” classification. The Champion of Champions and Masters do actually count as major successes. But I also think that Mark Selby’s performances last season justify his No.1 status, even if Ronnie thinks differently. The truth is that there is no dominant player at the moment, which is OK, and in some ways quite interesting. Snooker fans think about that too much…

    I also don’t like the way that people consider tournaments as mere qualifiers for the Players’ Championship or Tour Championship. Actually the German Masters is a fine tournament in its own right. We can talk about those bonus events later.

    Yesterday was a wonderful experience in the Tempodrom. There were some great performances and some great matches. It’s incredible that Yan Bingtao is in the semi-finals. Admittedly Mark Selby was very unlucky, but it was a titanic battle from Yan. Then, when he gifted Ryan Day the 6th frame he looked exhausted, finished. But somehow he kept going, and ultimately played granite safety and pulled out some spectacular pots. It’s possible he was also slightly distracted by Zhao Xintong’s performance against Trump on the adjoining table. It they meet in the final it will be fascinating. But actually I expect Allen to beat Yan. If the match was in the afternoon, 100%. But by the evening Yan might regain his energy if he was able to sleep well, and has a small chance.

    Mark Allen has had 2 easy matches, which will help him. It was no surprise the boy Fan hit the wall after his breakthrough. Walden was also excellent, but there will always be doubts about his stamina given his injury history. If Zhao wins, it will silence a few doubters, but he will probably need a decent run in the World Championship to really prove himself.

    • I’m not sure what Ronnie thinks right now, but I agree with you that Selby deserves his No 1 status. I also agree with you that a global rating system would be better than a “closed” ranking system, and I believe that if we must have a ranking system, it should not be driven by how much money a sponsor wants to put into an event but by the actual structure of the event iself. The length of the matches should be a major factor there.
      I also never consired any event as a “qualifying” event for other events, but the way WST crafted it, and the impact those “Cazoo Series” events have on the rankings make them a talking point, and important for the players, whether we like it or not.
      Also, I don’t care much about who is “the dominant player”, but the fact is that it’s constantly mentioned in commentary. I really struggle with Philip Studd as a commentator although I have nothing against the person who a have met a few times at events. The fact that he constantly mentions the prize money annoys me, as does his lack of objectivity when it comes to certain players, notably Trump. Hence my rant. I have the same problem with Phil Yates to an extend, or with Alan Mc Manus whenever one of his Scottish pals is playing. Alan is otherwise great to listen to, with a great voice and bags of knowledge.
      Yes Yan was fantastic yesterday, and, although he’s young, he may suffer today in the aftermath of his colossal efforts.

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