The Shanghai Masters gets underway on Monday when the opening six matches of the first round take place out in the Chinese city. This is the round that sees those ranked from 9-16 in the rankings taking on a Chinese wildcard so there will be plenty of home players for the crowds to enjoy.
Stars such as Neil Robertson, Luca Brecel, Mark Allen and Kyren Wilson will be gracing the baize across the three sessions on Monday as well as the home stars such as Liang Wenbo, Xiao Guodong and Zhou Yuelong.
Early Morning Session
The former winner Stuart Bingham is up first in this tournament. He will be looking to set up a clash with Shaun Murphy when he goes up against the young Chinese player Fan Zhengyi. The other seeded player in action in the first session of the day is Stephen Maguire. He goes up against the amateur Pu Qingsong with Barry Hawkins awaiting the winner later in the week.
Luca Brecel is in action in the second session of the morning as he goes in search of another title in China. He takes on Zhou Yuelong for the right to face Mark Selby in the next round. On the other table the tie of the round takes place when Kyren Wilson goes up against Liang Wenbo in what should be an absolute belter. Judd Trump awaits the winner of that one.
Mark Allen will begin his quest to add the Shanghai version of the Masters to the one he won at Alexandra Palace when he faces Xiao Guodong in another great looking match on the opening day. They will battle it out to face Ding Junhui while the other match of the day sees Neil Robertson going up against Guo Hua for the right to take on Ronnie O’Sullivan in the second round of the tournament.
I like two bets across the course of the day here. The first of them comes in the form of Luca Brecel who I am expecting to have too much for Zhou Yuelong. It is fair to say it hasn’t been the best 2018 so far for Brecel but there were signs that he is starting to find some form in the Six Red event last week and if he can continue that here he should have the beating of Yuelong. The Chinese star hasn’t really got going yet this season and he’s in decent company here which he has only tasted the fringes of. It is Brecel for me in this one.
Mark Allen is looking for something of a Masters double in 2018 and I think he’ll be bang up for this tournament. I’ve noticed he has been playing better than his results have suggested so far this season and I think over this best of 11 format we might see the best of him. He has experience on his side and with Xiao Guodong hit and miss at the minute I fancy Allen to come through and to do so with a little bit in hand.
Back L.Brecel to beat Z.Yuelong for a 4/10 stake at 1.80 with Coral
WON – Back M.Allen (-1.5 frames) to beat X.Guodong for a 4/10 stake at 2.10 with Coral