The first round of the Shanghai Masters concludes and the second round gets underway in what is another busy day in the invitational event on Tuesday. We’ve already seen some shocks and surprises which will keep the fancied players on edge.
After the likes of Ding Junhui and Barry Hawkins launched their title charge on Monday, we see the first foray into the tournament of star names such as Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Williams and Mark Selby on a seriously good Tuesday card.
Early Morning Session
The day begins with the conclusion of the first round of the tournament and one of the better matches of the event so far, on paper at least. That sees the former world champion Stuart Bingham taking on the Chinese star Liang Wenbo in what should be a great match. The other contest first up has the much improved Dave Gilbert looking to build on his fine campaign last season. He will be expected to come through against the unknown amateur Cao Jin to set up a clash with Judd Trump later in the tournament.
The second round of the tournament begins in the second session of the day and it does so with a couple of absolutely belting looking contests. The main one will be the one between two former world champions when Mark Williams faces a Shaun Murphy who looks back to somewhere near his best after a bizarre season by his standards last term. The other match sees another previous winner at the Crucible in action when Mark Selby goes up against the new kid on the block in Jack Lisowski. The two winners will meet in a quarter final.
This is the stage of the tournament where the defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan begins his title defence. He was due to be playing Ali Carter in the second round but the amateur Zhang Yi put a spanner in those works and it is he who will take on the Rocket. The other match in the session looks a more competitive one as the former winner in Shanghai, Kyren Wilson going up against the Chinese star Xiao Guodong, who was very impressive in beating Stephen Maguire in the first round on Monday.
I’ll take a couple of bets over the course of the day out in China with the first of them coming in the big morning match between Mark Williams and Shaun Murphy. Williams had a decent tune up for this week at the Six Red event in Thailand last week but I was very impressed with the performance Murphy put in during the first round here. The scoreline with Lu Haotian probably should have been a little bit closer than it was with Murphy stealing a couple of frames around the interval. That said though, I wanted to see something from Murphy to show that his run in the International Championship wasn’t merely a flash in the pan and that is what I saw. With that in mind, I’m happy to take Murphy in this one.
It is hard to not notice the form Xiao Guodong showed in the first round against Stephen Maguire. I took him on in that match because he had shown little so far this season but he put in a performance that you have to notice. It might only be a one-off. We’ll only know that when this match has been played but the 9/4 on him seeing off Kyren Wilson off the back of that win is probably a bet that should be taken. Wilson likes it here. He has a good record here but the advantage of a match on the table should not be underplayed and it is Guodong who has that. If he gets off to a fast start he might not be for catching if he has the scoring form he delivered against Maguire.
WON – Back S.Murphy to beat M.Williams for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with Betway
Back X.Guodong to beat K.Wilson for a 3/10 stake at 3.25 with Coral