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Snooker - German Masters preview: Robertson leads field to Berlin

Neil Robertson leads the betting in a German Masters field that is without many of snooker’s big names and could be a good opportunity for the lesser lights to shine.

The Aussie is a 9/4 chance to win the tournament, an event he has never taken home before but there are a number of intriguing contenders in the field in Berlin.

What The German Masters
Where Tempodrom, Berlin, Germany
When 13:00, Wednesday 1st February 2023 
How to watch  Eurosport
Odds Neil Robertson 9/4, Jack Lisowski 4/1, Kyren Wilson 6/1, Ali Carter 9/1, Ricky Walden 11/1, Luca Brecel 14/1

Weakened field leads to opportunities

With Ronnie O’Sullivan pulling out of this event and a number of the world’s top 16 failing to qualify, there are now just four top-16 players taking to Berlin for this tournament.

Robertson, Luca Brecel, Kyren Wilson and Jack Lisowski are now the only members of that elite group of snooker’s finest taking part in Berlin.

The suspensions of Yan Bingtao, Li Hang, Zhao Jianbo and Zhao Xintong means that Ricky Walden, Ali Carter, Jimmy Robertson and Tom Ford will all get walkovers in the last 32.

The reduced field will present a big opportunity for those who normally run into the likes of Judd Trump or Ronnie O’Sullivan at tournaments to make a run of their own.

Shoot Out form difficult to translate  

The Shoot Out took place last week and while the event is a fun addition to the calendar, its unique nature means that it is hard for form from that event to translate over to this one.

Chris Wakelin pulled off an unlikely success in that tournament, his first ever ranking title, and will be hoping he can take some confidence from that victory into this clash. He opens against Chinese youngster Si Jiahui, who famously defeated Shaun Murphy as an amateur at the 2021 UK Championship.

Daniel Wells is another who will be hoping to continue where he left off in the Shoot Out. He was beaten by Wakelin in the semi-finals and faces Robert Milkins in his opening matchup here.

Wakelin is a 125/1 chance to follow up his Shootout victory, while Wells can be backed at 400/1.

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Golden chance for Lisowski? 

It is well known that Lisowski is the best player in snooker never to have won a ranking title and the 31-year-old may have landed a golden chance in Berlin.

The world number 12 takes on Zhang Anda in his opener before a potential last 16 clash against either world number 120 Peng Yisong or Jimmy White.

The biggest threat in Lisowski’s quarter of the draw looks to be Joe O’Connor, who put in an impressive performance to reach the Scottish Open final or Xiao Guodong, who reached the quarter-finals of the Grand Prix.

However Lisowski will not get many other opportunities to win a ranking title where there is just one other member of the world’s top 16 in his half of the draw and is 4/1 for his first ranking title.

Robertson to break run of semis?

World number five Robertson had a successful season in 2021/22, winning the Masters, Players Championship, Tour Championship and English Open.

The Australian has not been able to get over the line yet in the new season, however, falling at the semi-final stage at the Scottish Open, Northern Ireland Open and English Open.

Robertson also reached the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Masters and will be aiming to put first round defeats at the World Grand Prix and Masters behind him with victory here.

The 40-year-old does face a tricky opening matchup against Joe Perry however and has Brecel, Matthew Stevens and Milkins in his quarter of the draw, so while the 9/4 price for Robertson to win the tournament is fair, some punters may find value elsewhere.

Junxu could make hay in weak quarter  

The only quarter of the German Masters without a top 16 player is the bottom section and youngster Pang Junxu could benefit from an easier draw than most.

The 22-year-old won the World Snooker Tour Rookie of the Year in 2021 and has continued to impress, reaching the last eight of the Championship League and picking up some big wins en route.

The youngster begins against Ross Muir before a potential last 16 clash with Ricky Walden, who has not shown much this season after a strong campaign last time out.

At 50/1 Junxu could outrun his considerable odds.

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