Snooker News

The German Four

A hectic few days in Berlin continues with the semi-finals of the German Masters today at the Tempodrom.

After three days of action on multiple tables, proceedings return to more normal custom on Saturday with a single-table set-up for the last four.

While there were shocks galore in the early part of the tournament, half of the semi-finalists are proven winners and members of the top four in the world rankings.

Ding Junhui and Judd Trump will be favourites to meet each other in Sunday’s final but they first must overcome one more hurdle to do so.

It won’t be easy for either as well, with a pair of tricky opponents standing in their way.

Ryan Day and Rod Lawler might not feature at the business end of competitions too often but they will both be confident following successful passages to the semi-finals.

Indeed, in my preview I felt that Day had a decent chance of emerging from his quarter as he has displayed signs of a return to the form that saw him reach three ranking event finals in 2007 and 2008.

The 33 year-old is definitely a player that falls into the category of unfulfilled potential but he is still young enough to turn his career around – as someone like Stuart Bingham can testify to.

The Welshman is a fantastic break builder when he is on his A-game but too often his safety and consistency, or lack thereof, are his downfall.

However, in compiling a 50+ break in almost every frame he won in beating Anthony Hamilton and Xiao Guodong on Friday, he will be hopeful of causing what would be another upset this week.

Unfortunately for Day, his upcoming challenge comes in the form of arguably the player of the season in Ding.

Ding, of course, has already claimed three ranking events this season and, after going off the boil a little in the recent tournaments in England, has certainly returned to his best.

In dispatching of Joe Perry 5-2 in the quarter-finals, the Chinese sensation fired in runs of 107, 55, 81, 92, 52 and 70.

Day won’t even have an opportunity to prove his scoring ability should Ding continue that vein of form.

While that affair could be a quick one, whether it’s close or not given both players’ natural speed, the evening semi-final could potentially be a late one.

Judd Trump will be delighted to be contesting his first semi-final of the campaign, but what won’t please him is who he’s facing.

With a nickname like ‘The Plod’, it’s easy to figure out what kind of player Rod Lawler is.

The fact that he has needed all nine frames in each of his last three victories will also hint at his ability to grind opposition down.

Trump should win this match on paper but he will have to prepare mentally for a slow match, and accept that that’s just the way it’s going to be.

42 year-old Lawler, winner of a PTC event last season in Gloucester, will be delighted to have produced his best showing at a ranking event since he reached the final of the 1996 International Open.

I tipped Trump at the start of the week to emerge victorious come Sunday night and I’m going to stick with that.

He will more than likely be pushed hard by Lawler but he should have enough in reserve to overcome his fellow Englishman.

Indeed, while Lawler has been on the table for hours this week, 24 year-old Trump has only surrendered three frames in his four clashes – the last of which being a 5-0 drubbing of Michael Holt.

So a mouth-watering final between Ding and Trump in prospect, but first they must ensure that they don’t slip up against capable players on Saturday.

As ever, there is likely to be a spectacular atmosphere with the Tempodrom hosting more than 2,000 enthusiastic fans.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.

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