The 2019 German Masters gets under way at the Tempodrom in Berlin on Wednesday with Mark Williams returning as the defending champion.
Williams produced a dominant display twelve months ago in the final when he thoroughly dismantled the challenge of surprise finalist Graeme Dott courtesy of a 9-1 hammering.
It represented the first time since the tournament’s reincarnation in 2011 that a title decider had been so one-sided.
Indeed, even though none of the eight showdowns for glory have ever gone the distance, the majority still turned out to be tense and tight affairs.
The pressure is almost always multiplied at the terrific Tempodrom – an arena that can pack 2,500 of the most appreciative fans in world snooker into one spine-tingling setting.
In the build up to this year’s edition, let’s take a look back at just a few of the more memorable German Masters finals that have taken place since 2011.
German Masters Finals
Mark Selby 9-7 Shaun Murphy (2015)
Four years ago, Selby triumphed in what was the second of his appearances in German Masters finals.
An additional four years prior to that, Selby had missed out in the inaugural competition with a 9-7 reverse against Mark Williams.
At that time, Selby was beginning to earn himself a reputation of not being able to produce his best in ranking event finals.
How times changed.
After fighting back from five frames down to deny Ronnie O’Sullivan a third World Championship title in a row in 2014, in turn capturing his maiden Crucible crown, Selby’s fortunes in ranking event finals dramatically turned.
The Leicester man had already garnered an image of being a hard man to beat but his powers of brinkmanship were extended to new levels after his Sheffield success.
Fast forward nine or so months and Selby found himself 5-2 behind against Shaun Murphy but won a crucial last frame of the first session on the colours to stay in touch.
Selby subsequently won the opening four frames of the evening session with breaks of 92, 52, 93, and 53 to transform a two-frame deficit into a two-frame advantage.
Murphy battled gallantly to restore parity but Selby was not to be denied and he won the remaining couple of frames for a fifth ranking event title.
The 35 year-old regained the world number one position and hasn’t let go of that firm grip of top spot since, winning a magnificent 12 out of his last 13 ranking event final contests.
There was hardly a better setting for Selby to announce himself as officially the world’s best ranked player and the German crowd, as always, were on their feet to show their appreciation.
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German Masters Finals
Anthony Hamilton 9-6 Ali Carter (2017)
For long-term snooker supporters, Anthony Hamilton’s victory in 2017 will go down as one of the most popular ever.
Hamilton’s long career, like most, had been one of significant highs and heartbreaking lows.
Perhaps most of all, though, the affable “Sheriff of Pottingham” was known as one of the game’s greatest underachievers.
Often branded as the best player never to win a ranking event, Hamilton’s best days when he was a regular member of the top 16 were seemingly long gone.
Not only was form in short supply, the two-time ranking event runner-up had to also contend with a debilitating back injury that often threatened to curtail his career entirely.
A mere eleven months earlier, Hamilton required two victories in a small event in Poland to safeguard his position on the Main Tour.
He dropped out of the top 64 at the end of the 2015/16 campaign but managed to just about survive thanks to the European Tour Order of Merit standings.
What happened during the next season astounded many, not least after he seemingly fluffed another golden opportunity in the Northern Ireland Open semi-finals when he feathered the cue ball despite orchestrating a huge opportunity to beat Barry Hawkins in the last four.
Still, Hamilton qualified for the last 32 of the German Masters while playing his best snooker in more than a decade.
A professional since 1991, Hamilton’s run to the final couldn’t have been much more difficult – including victories over Mark Williams, Mark Selby, Stuart Bingham, and a sweet undertaking of revenge on Hawkins in a dramatic quarter-final that again went the distance.
Hamilton, as he had been in all of those fixtures, began the final as the second favourite against Ali Carter, who had plenty of German Masters finals experience having won the competition in 2013.
Yet, defying his age of 45 and that dodgy back, Hamilton’s measured performance brought the roof down as he overcame the “Captain” by three frames.
Hamilton had invited his parents the week before to see Berlin as he thought it might be a final opportunity for them to enjoy the German city.
Little did he expect that they would be among the crowd cheering their son on as he finally etched his name onto a prestigious piece of silverware.
German Masters Finals
Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-7 Stephen Maguire (2012)
Arguably the most iconic German Masters final derives from the event that many people often refer to as the one that revived Ronnie O’Sullivan’s career.
Nowadays, it’s difficult to believe that there have been times when the “Rocket” has anything but soared.
In fact, at the beginning of 2012 O’Sullivan’s game was almost in disarray.
It was three years since his last Masters triumph and almost the same length of time since he prevailed in a ranking event.
It didn’t appear as though much was going to change in that year’s German Masters when O’Sullivan trailed Andrew Higginson 4-0 at the mid-session interval of their first round tie.
However, O’Sullivan’s now legendary fight back spearheaded a rejuvenation of his enigma.
After surviving with an unlikely 5-4 turnaround, O’Sullivan manouevred his way through the rounds before an eagerly-anticipated encounter with Scotland’s Stephen Maguire.
The latter had once been labelled by O’Sullivan as a competitor likely to dominate the sport but a few humbling defeats to the former world number one provided Maguire with mental scars he has possibly never fully recovered from.
After firing in a hat-trick of centuries in a high-quality opening session, Maguire established an early 5-3 cushion and extended that to three frames upon the evening’s restart.
But it always felt like it was going to be O’Sullivan’s event and the Englishman duly dominated the remainder of the showdown to eek out a 9-7 victory.
It finally put an end to one of O’Sullivan’s longest barren spells and, of course, duly resulted in him gaining the confidence necessary to proceed and capture consecutive Crucible titles in Sheffield.
Live coverage of the 2019 German Masters will be on Eurosport.