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Snooker: Big names missing for Berlin action

The snooker season sees its first continental action of the calendar as the sport's top stars travel to Berlin for the 15th German Masters.

Big names such as Ronnie O'Sullivan, John Higgins and Barry Hawkins failed to make it through the two-round qualification process for the main event, as did Hossein Vafaei, who recently won his first ranking title in the shape of the Shoot Out.

However there is still an elite field set to assemble at the Tempodrom, headlined by the world numbers one and two, Mark Selby and Judd Trump.

Trump eyes up a three-peat

Judd Trump, number one seed and back-to-back winner of the German Masters, has been handed another boost in his quest for a third title, a bye through the first round after Gao Yang withdrew from the tournament.

Trump is a 5/2 shot to win the competition and will face either Anthony McGill or Zhou Yeulong in the last 16.

The Juddernaut has not reached a ranking final since winning the Champion of Champions event in November and he was edged out by Barry Hawkins in the semi-finals of the Masters.

Selby looking for second title

Mark Selby, world number one, will be looking for his second German Masters title, having won the event back in 2015.

His recent record has been poor however, failing to get past the second round in the six editions since his victory and failing to qualify for the main event in the last two seasons.

The Jester will play Barry Pinches in his opening game and if progressing faces a last-16 clash with either David Gilbert or Yan Bingtao.

Selby is priced up at 9/2 to win this year's event and will be looking to break his ranking title duck this season.

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Snooker: Trump the one to beat on Selby's patch

Williams back to brilliant best?

Another former winner of the German Masters who has displayed some strong form recently is Mark Williams.

Victorious in 2011 and 2018, the Welshman has a good track record at the event and has been in fine form in recent events.

The winner of the British Open last August, Williams went on to be edged out by eventual winner Neil Robertson in the semi-final of the Masters, before he was beaten in the final of the Shoot Out by Hossein Vafaei last weekend.

The 46-year-old could have an easier draw, facing Zhao Xintong in the first round before a potential quarter-final clash with Trump should he make it that far, but he is clearly in good nick at the minute and it may be worth punters keeping him on side at 20/1.

Breakout Brecel could fancy Euro success

Luca Brecel has been one of the breakout stories of the snooker season, reaching the final of the UK Championship where he was beaten by Zhao Xintong, before following up just a week later by winning the Scottish Open, beating John Higgins 9-5 in the final.

Brecel became the first man from mainland Europe to win a ranking title in 2017 and reached the final of the German Masters in 2016, so has previous in Berlin.

Perhaps it would be fitting that the sport’s biggest star from mainland Europe wins his third ranking title on the continent; he faces Zhang Anda in the first round and is priced up at 25/1 to win the tournament.

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