THE TENTH edition of the Shanghai Masters kicks-off on Monday as major ranking event snooker returns to the calendar.
After a stop/start summer period, snooker fans can now rejoice in having some serious action to watch with the return of one of the sport’s most established events outside the UK.
With all the world’s top 16 in action – including Ronnie O’Sullivan – alongside some big name qualifiers looking to get their hands on the top prize of £85,000, this year’s Shanghai Masters looks to be a cracker. It is fair to say many lovers of the sport view the Shanghai Masters as the ‘proper’ start to the new campaign.
Based on an old style draw similar to the World Championship – the top 16 players were guaranteed a place in the first round proper, with those outside the barrier having to qualify for the event in Barnsley last month.
Last year saw Kettering’s very own Kyren Wilson make his whirlwind breakthrough on the world stage after he defeated the odds to win the tournament beating Judd Trump in a final frame decider and claim his first major ranking title.
Now firmly inside the top 16, Wilson will hope to successfully defend the title he won so memorably twelve months ago.
But the task facing him is a daunting one as far as the history books are concerned as no player has ever won back to back Shanghai Masters titles. Its previous years have seen nine different winners.
SHANGHAI MASTERS WINNERS
2007 – Dominic Dale, 2008 – Ricky Walden, 2009 – Ronnie O’Sullivan, 2010 – Ali Carter, 2011 – Mark Selby, 2012 – John Higgins, 2013 – Ding Junhui, 2014 – Stuart Bingham, 2015 – Kyren Wilson
Much of the first round has yet to be decided due to the fact that eight ‘qualifiers’ from the qualifying event in Barnsley have to face wildcard matches at the venue against Chinese based opposition.
Oddly this is the case for Chinese number two star Liang Wenbo who must beat fellow countryman Hu Hao to secure an opening round tussle with Ronnie O’Sullivan. Should he do so, the pair will meet in a replay of the Shanghai Masters final of 2009 which The Rocket won 10-5.
Defending champion Wilson also faces a wait to discover his first round opponent with Michael Holt drawn a wildcard match against Xu Si. Wilson and O’Sullivan will play each other in the second round should both win their first round matches.
Further down the draw, China’s number one star Ding Junhui meets Scott Donaldson while Judd Trump, a runner-up in this event on two occasions, takes on Ben Woollaston.
New dad Shaun Murphy could meet Stephen Maguire in the first round if the Glaswegian comes through his wildcard match against Yi.
And Ali Carter, fresh from World Open glory, will hope to continue his strong start this season when he faces either Kurt Maflin or wildcard entrant Guan Zhen.
At the bottom of the draw, world champion Mark Selby awaits a first round tie with either Martin Gould or Yuan Sijun and Joe Perry, runner-up to Carter in the World Open, begins his hopes of Shanghai glory with a match against Stuart Carrington or Niu Zhuang.
Both Selby and Perry face tough competition in the bottom quarter with world number three Neil Robertson also in the mix. The Australian, who won the first ranking event this season in Latvia, could face Selby in the last eight should they both win their first two matches.
Kyren WILSON vs Michael HOLT or Xu SI
Ronnie O’SULLIVAN vs Liang WENBO or Hu HAO
Ding JUNHUI vs Scott DONALDSON
Mark ALLEN vs Anthony McGILL or Chen ZIFAN
Judd TRUMP vs Ben WOOLLASTON
Ricky WALDEN vs Michael WHITE
Shaun MURPHY vs Stephen MAGUIRE or YI
Stuart BINGHAM vs Jamie JONES
Marco FU vs David GILBERT
Ali CARTER vs Kurt MAFLIN or Guan ZHEN
John HIGGINS vs Matthew SELT
Neil ROBERTSON vs Ryan DAY or Ma BING
Mark WILLIAMS vs Mei XIWEN
Joe PERRY vs Stuart CARRINGTON or Niu ZHUANG
Martk SELBY vs Martin GOULD or Yan SIJUN
The China Championship Announcement
As reported on this website earlier today (Sunday), the news of the first ever China Championship being added to the calendar this November could have a major impact on what happens in Shanghai this coming week.
This year’s new event will see the top ten in the world rankings (following the Shanghai Masters) guaranteed a spot in the £200,000 jackpot event.
Also there are four places up for grabs from the season points list, meaning there will be plenty to play for this week.
As things stand Ronnie O’Sullivan is currently listed outside the top ten of the world rankings. And combined with the fact he has no season points yet after not entering any of the early season events, he will need a good run to secure his name is in the hat for a piece of snooker history.
However the likes of Ricky Walden, Joe Perry and ding Junhui who sit just above O’Sullivan in the world rankings will also be hoping to do well inorder to make another trip to China at the start of November.
How can I watch it?
Well it is no surprise, given the big announcement earlier this year of Eurosport’s huge ten-year broadcasting deal with World Snooker that the channel have the rights to show this year’s event. That has been the case in recent years.
Matches will be shown between allotted times throughout the week though this maybe subject to change. Non-interrupted coverage will be broadcast on the channel’s digital subscription channel Eurosport Player, available on the internet and iPhone, Android phones.
Eurosport broadcast times (UK time) are as follows:
Monday 19 September
0730-1030 LIVE day one on Eurosport 2
1230-1530 LIVE day one on Eurosport 2
Tuesday 20 September
0730-1030 LIVE day two on Eurosport 2
1230-1530 LIVE day two on Eurosport 2
Wed 21 September
0730-1030 LIVE day three on Eurosport 2
1230-1530 LIVE day three on Eurosport 2
Thurs 22 September
0730-1030 LIVE day four on Eurosport 2
1230-1530 LIVE day four on Eurosport 2
Friday 23 September
0730-1030 LIVE quarter-finals on Eurosport 2
1230-1530 LIVE quarter-finals on Eurosport 2
Saturday 24 September
0730-1030 LIVE semi-finals on Eurosport 2
1230-1530 LIVE semi-finals on Eurosport 2
Sunday 25 September
0700-1000 LIVE final on Eurosport 2
1230-1530 LIVE final on Eurosport 2
Keep up to date on the action in Shanghai by visiting us here at https://theoldgreenbaize.com/.