The second day of the Shanghai Masters sees the first round of the tournament concluding and the next stage getting underway on a Tuesday where the stars come out from start to finish in the first event in mainland China in almost four years.
We saw some good snooker on Monday and some indifferent stuff but with the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan, Judd Trump and Mark Selby entering the fray on Tuesday the standard should go up quite a bit over the three sessions of play.
We conclude the first round of the tournament in the morning session with two established stars taking on two Chinese players. Mark Williams will be the headline act on show in this first part of the day and he will be involved in the pick of the two matches against Pang Junxu. The Welsh Open winner from last season, Robert Milkins, is the other player taking to the baize in the morning. His opponent will be the wildcard Bai Yulu who is the only woman in the event.
We get the second round of the competition underway in the afternoon session on Tuesday and we do so with a couple of cracking looking matches. The main table will see Judd Trump taking to the baize looking to start out on a quest to go one better than he did in the European Masters recently. His good friend Jack Lisowski will be in the other chair. The other match sees Kyren Wilson beginning his tournament when he goes up against John Higgins who had a comfortable 6-0 win in the first round on Monday.
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The evening session is pretty good too as Ronnie O’Sullivan enters the tournament on the main table when he takes on a player he has had a number of battles with over the years in the form of Ali Carter, who opened up his campaign with a 6-2 win over a wildcard on Monday. There is no shortage of recent history in the other match when the world finalist Mark Selby takes on a Hossein Vafaei who has dumped him out of three major tournaments in the last two seasons having beaten him in the last two UK Championships and at The Masters earlier in the year.
I’m not sure if Hossein Vafaei will beat Mark Selby for a fourth time in succession but I do believe he has what it takes to run the world finalist close. Vafaei has already had a match this week and I think we are going to see that is an advantage for a number of the first round winners. He hasn’t just had a match but he won it 6-1 and knocked in three tons in the process and while his wildcard opponent wasn’t at the level of Selby, three tons in any match isn’t shabby.
Selby arrives here in decent form though having reached the semi-finals of the European Masters where it took the eventual winner Barry Hawkins to beat him. He followed that up with an emphatic win to qualify for the Wuhan Open and has a good record in China so ‘The Jester’ will fancy his chances of winning not just this match but the tournament. Two players who are playing well can lead to a very good match and one which I see having over 9.5 frames in it, as I suspect many will from here on in.
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