The opening day of the Shanghai Masters sees three quarters of the first round of the tournament being played across the three sessions of the invitational competition. We have to wait until later in the week for the top eight to come to the party but the card on Monday looks decent enough.
There is a world champion and three world finalists on show on Monday with quality everywhere you look to entertain the crowds out in Shanghai and those of us who are watching on through the TV.
Early Morning Session
There are two matches in the first session of the day. The beauty of this tournament is that the whole of it is on televised tables. The main match first up sees the former world champion and International Championship finalist Shaun Murphy taking on Lu Haotian in possibly the tie of the round. The other match sees the ever improving Jack Lisowski taking on the relatively unknown Chinese player Wu Yize for the right to take on Mark Selby in the last 16.
There are another two matches in the middle session of the first day of the tournament. The pick of them is the one between the man who was beaten in the final here last year in Barry Hawkins and the winner of the Riga Masters to kick the season off – Yan Bingtao, in what looks like a really good match up. The other match sees the former winner of this tournament in action as Ali Carter meets one of the other amateurs on show on the opening day in Zhang Yi.
There is no doubt which is the main match of the final session of the day even though Ding Junhui is involved in the schedule. The big match is the one between the beaten finalist in the Six Red World Championship last week in Stephen Maguire and the Chinese ace Xiao Guodong. The crowds will probably be there to watch Ding in action though. He faces the third amateur to take to the tables on Monday in the shape of Zhao Jianbo.
I’ll go with one bet on the opening day of the tournament where I expect Stephen Maguire to come through with a little bit in hand. Xiao Guodong hasn’t really pulled up any trees in recent times and has the expectation to deal with here. To be fair to the Chinese player he has qualified for a couple of tournaments this season but done precious little when he’s got to them it has to be said and I sense he’s vulnerable here.
Maguire should be in decent nick after a good spin in Thailand last week where the match practice can’t do him any harm here. You have to be aggressive in that six red event so I would expect him to come here and attack the balls which tends to be when he is at his very best. I’m not convinced Guodong is going to take a lot of beating here so I’m with Maguire minus 1.5 frames.
Back S.Maguire (-1.5 frames) to beat X.Guodong for a 4/10 stake at 1.95 with Boylesports
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