Shanghai Masters 2012 kicks off tomorrow

00:26:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Are you in the mood for some major-ranking, good-old-fashioned snooker? Than we are settled, for starting tomorrow morning the Shanghai Masters kicks off and with it the hopes and dreams of the players who want to see their names in highlights at the end of this tournament.

It's been a while since I posted on this blog (sadly my hateful job is keeping me busy more than I want), but this week will be fully dedicated to snooker, for this is an event that I very keen about. Last years due to a tragic event in my family I missed a good part of it, so imagine how thrilled I am to be able to covering it this year.

But putting aside the personal stuff, I'm very curious to see how this tournament develops. It starts with Mark Selby as defending champion, but taking into account the latest achievements in snooker and by that I mean players that have emerged to win ranking events or have notable contributions in them (see Rod Lawler from last week, Ricky Walden and his Wuxi Classic trophy, or Joe Swail’s magnificent slalom to reach the final of the Paul Hunter Classic - only to mention a few) odds are that this year's Shanghai Masters will turn out to be quite surprising.

On the other hand we have players that failed to shine last season and now have a lot to catch up with, but also the enormous will to prove to the entire world that they still got it. 

In the category we have John Higgins, the player that practically ruled the 2010/2011 season winning almost everything there was to win, including the cherry on the cake (aka. the World Championship). Also, I can forget Shaun Murphy, one of the most constant players on tour, yet very estranged from winning ranking events. 

However, I can't overlook his Brazilian Master trophy from last year, but considering that it wasn't a ranking event, the "Magician" should really use some of his magic to catch one.

Defending champ - Mark Selby
Another player that we all agree on that he's brilliant is Mark Williams, but "Marquitos" has been pretty silent on the green baize recently and hasn't won a tournament in quite some time now. However, we all know he's a huge fan of playing aboard, so maybe (just maybe) he'll find the Shanghai Masters the perfect opportunity for getting back on track.

Two years ago, Ali Carter was defeating Jamie Burnett in Shanghai in what was, in my opinion, a pretty thrilling final. Then it came the fall. The horrible Cohn disease has kept "the Captain" away from the winning line and put him in the position of even seriously considering retiring.

Still, during this year's World Championship he reached the final and made us all believe he has a chance to win it. It didn't happen, but it sure has made a difference for his self-confidence.

Guided by "the snooker's guru" Peter Ebdon, Carter tried to return on the green baize and although he didn’t take a pretty good start this season it will be interesting to see how he'll react in front of crowd that saw him win the Shanghai Masters title a couple of years ago.

A stunning Peter Ebdon was grabbing the China Open title a few months ago and so assured us of continuing the "Ebbo legacy" even by getting a place in this year's Premier League (where he won his first match, 5-1 against the big Stephen Lee). He reached the final of this season's first main ranking event (aka. The Australian Open), but unfortunately for him, he couldn't catch up with a very decided-to-win opponent, in the person of Barry Hawkins. So we better keep an eye on this guy too.

Of course that we should also keep in mind names like Robert Milkins, Stephen Maguire (who's been on fire lately), Stu Bingham or Martin Gould as well as the rest of players, for let's face it: they all stand a chance and if snooker has taught us something over the years is that you can't predict a winner before the tournament starts.

So, let's see how's the first day looking, shall we?

9) Mark Selby v Jamie Cope
16) Stephen Maguire v Peter Ebdon
6) Fergal O'Brien v Chen Feilong
7) Jimmy Robertson v Jin Long

11) Ding Junhui v WINNER OF MATCH 1
12) Shaun Murphy v Dominic Dale
23) Mark Allen v WINNER OF MATCH 8
15) Allister Carter v WINNER OF MATCH 4

*all hours are UK time

TV coverage:
07:30 -10:30 British EuroSport 2
08:00 - 11:30 British EuroSport 
12:30 - 15:30 British EuroSport
12:30 - 15:30 British EuroSport 2
19:00 - 22:00 British EuroSport 2

At this stage the matches are being played under "the best of 9" rule.
Let the snooker begin!