The second match of an entertaining looking Monday schedule at The Masters sees the former champion Ding Junhui taking on the only tournament debutant this year in the form of Jack Lisowski inside Alexandra Palace.
Ding goes into the match as the senior player and the higher ranked man but many may well make Lisowski the favourite based on his season so far and the form he takes into the event. With that in mind we are nicely set up for an intriguing contest.
Although he has won this tournament in the past, there is no doubt in my mind that there is a love and hate relationship with this event for the Chinese superstar. You would have to say that for a man with his ability and class, his overall record in the tournament is poor and I’m sure that is something he will be looking to change over the course of the next week.
He might well need to raise his game though because apart from one tournament, his season has been very ordinary thus far. There were slight signs last month that we might be seeing something near his better game though and he does tend to get better the longer the season goes on. We really need to see his best game soon, for our peace of mind as much as his.
Whenever a player makes his debut in this tournament we have to treat him with a degree of the unknown because it can be very hard to settle in this event. I’ve been to a number of snooker venues and even as a fan this one is different so I’m guessing it is hard as a player too, but Lisowski will have the 10 minutes to practice on the main table which might give him something of an advantage to debutants before him.
One thing we do know about Lisowski is that he is having a wonderful season so there are certainly no issues about him from a form point of view. He is also the sort of player that a London crowd likes, one that goes for his shots in a flamboyant, entertaining way so if he settles and plays his fluent game I’m sure he’ll be well received by those in attendance.
Head to Head
These two have met just once in their career so far and it remains to be seen how much relevance it has because it was in the Shanghai Masters back in 2014. Ding would have had plenty of support that day and Lisowski is an eminently better player now, so although Ding might draw something from it I don’t think it is a massive deal. We will find out for sure during this match.
There are signs that Ding is coming to life at the present time but his record here since he won the tournament in 2011 is terrible. He has won one match in seven years and with all due respect that was only against a Kyren Wilson who wasn’t the player then that he is now. Jack Lisowski will need to settle quickly but given that Ding and this tournament is not a marriage made in heaven I’ve got to be on the talented Englishman at odds against.
The one thing we do know about this match is there is not going to be a huge amount of safety played and as such I expect the scoring to be good. We saw two tons in the both matches on Sunday and I’m expecting to see something similar here between two insanely good scorers. Ding has only made 13 centuries this season but five of them came in his two events last month so his scoring is improving. Lisowski has made 27 and I fancy between them there are two more in them here.
Back J.Lisowski to beat D.Junhui for a 4/10 stake at 2.10 with Betfred
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Back Over 1.5 centuries for a 4/10 stake at 2.10 with Betfair
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