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Snooker returns to the Tempodrom – Day 1 at the German Masters

Hello and Guten Tag from the German Masters in Berlin!

It’s that time of the year again – late January in Berlin, the weather rather less than inviting, but the attraction of world class snooker outweighing this by far.

The lure of the Tempodrom strikes again. And this year it does strike, for the first time, for a full week, the tournament having been prolonged by two days.

It promises to be a long, hard working, ever more fascinating week for us stewards, providing “crowd control” and general services, the girls Friday – all men, to be sure – of the concrete tent that is the famed Tempodrom.

The promised “full house”, truth be told, does not (yet) refer to the audience, although the ranks were filled to an astonishing extent on the Monday afternoon and evening sessions.

The organiser had offered package tickets for the first five days, and this seemed to work quite well with German and international snooker fans.

What it does mean is that a whole of seven tables have been packed into the circus-like arena, and thus certainly maxing out what the real estate can offer.

Not infrequently players and referees were in danger of collisions when the play occurred at the adjacent ends of the tables.

And the players lounge never seemed so crowded. The agenda had been filled with a number of matches held over from qualifying in December, allowing some seldom seen players a match against “big names” here.

When the first clicks of the balls were heard, play having commenced at 3pm local time, it was a seven point foul by Sam Craigie that was the first number to appear on the score board.

No ominous sign, it was hoped. And speaking of score boards, all officials promised solemnly that the seemingly never-ending glitches of the new WST scoring system have finally ended, and at least the first day seemed to prove them right.

Craigie’s young opponent Liam Pullen did not benefit for very long of the given seven point gift, losing first the frame and then his match 2-5.

At the neighbouring table, Barry Pinches surprised his opponent, the young rather burly Belgian Julien Leclercq, with a fast century in the first frame.

Considering Pinches’ somewhat grandfatherly charm, rather noticeable during the walk-in of all players with his gray hair standing out among the many young guns present, it went to show that players like him never should be written off.

Though his joy had limits as well, at the end it was 5-2 for Leclercq.

The next two tables saw two big names making their sole appearance this year, surely to the dismay of many fans.

Shaun Murphy squandered away his 3-0 lead against Xu Si, allowing the young Chinese back into the match to walk away with it, 5-3.

And Mark Selby simply did not “feel it” on this Monday, it seemed. There was little resistance to be seen against an assured looking Marco Fu.

Selby’s sole frame win after the intermission, when things were 0-4 from his view, coming across more like a token of duty than a beginning of one of his famed comebacks.

The departure of the two giants was a demonstration of their vastly different characters, Selby just leaving quickly without a glance back, with Murphy, ever the showman, waving to the audience and actually clapping demonstratively in appreciation of them.

At the TV table, the defending champion had right of place, as is the custom at the first session here.

Ali Carter was made to work hard for progressing against Michael White, their match going to a decider where he eventually had the better end for himself.

Carter looked confident, though, often with a rueful smile when something didn’t quite work well for him, rather than the grim look he sometimes sports.

He often displayed an interest for the games at the outside tables, also something not seen so frequently.

Matt Selt’s 5-0 victory over Martin O’Donnell looked rather less clear than the scoreline would suggest, and off we were for a hasty dinner before the evening session.

This saw all seven tables played on, with the held-over match of Judd Trump against Germany’s sole main tour player Lukas Kleckers at the central TV table.

Trump showed little mercy with Kleckers, seeing him off 5-0 in a very short match, rubbing in his dominance with an exhibition trick shot at the end of frame two when he downed the last black with a spectacular three cushion trajectory over the entire table and back.

It speaks for Kleckers that he left looking unperturbed, although the match had already begun with an unfortunate gaffe by Emcee Rolf Kalb, who had announced him as the best player yet in Germany: Luca Brecel.

The Belgian world champion was in presence, however at one of the side tables, where he lost his match against Ishpreet Singh Chadha 2-5. The season still does not go very well for Brecel.

One table further, Mark Allen long looked threatened to suffer the same fortune, committing many unnecessary mistakes.

But he saved the day and his continued presence at the 2024 German Masters by winning the decider against Manasawin Phetmalaikul.

Neil Robertson needed his time to find his game against Sanderson Lam but prevailed 5-1 at the end.

Graeme Dott was a 5-2 winner over Ashley Carty – who may had entertained hopes of replicating his last success on German soil when he reached the quarter finals of the European Masters in Nuremberg last August.

Joe O’Connor and Scott Donaldson respective 5-3 and 5-2 victories over Stephen Maguire and Jamie Clarke were the remaining scorelines of this abundant first snooker evening at Berlin.

So we saw the early exits of Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy, a dominant Judd Trump, an affable Ali Carter, Mark Allen and Neil Robertson succeeding but not yet shining, and several names further down the ranking list who may well continue to prove dangerous to seemingly stronger players.

It’s snooker time in Berlin again. It is, thankfully, the unique atmosphere of the Tempodrom once more.

2024 German Masters draw

Round of 128 (bo9)

Ali Carter 5-4 Michael White
Peng Yisong 5-4 Alfie Burden
Pang Junxu 5-2 Jimmy White
Haydon Pinhey 5-3 Rod Lawler
Zak Surety 5-3 Jack Lisowski
Alexander Ursenbacher 5-0 Ma Hailong
Hossein Vafaei 5-0 Mink Nutcharut
Elliot Slessor 5-2 Iulian Boiko

Sam Craigie 5-2 Sean O’Sullivan
Liam Pullen 5-1 Stuart Bingham
He Guoqiang 5-4 John Astley
Mark Williams 5-3 David Grace
Graeme Dott 5-3 Victor Sarkis
Ashley Carty 5-2 Noppon Saengkham
Andrew Higginson 5-4 Jiang Jun
Shaun Murphy 3-5 Xu Si

Mark Allen 5-4 Manasawin Phetmalaikul
Louis Heathcote 5-1 Andy Lee
Stephen Maguire 5-1 Rebecca Kenna
Joe O’Connor 5-2 Andy Hicks
John Higgins 5-3 Daniel Wells
Martin Gould 5-4 James Cahill
Zhou Yuelong 5-4 Jak Jones
Tian Pengfei 5-4 Reanne Evans

Jamie Clarke 5-3 Hammad Miah
Scott Donaldson 5-4 Gary Wilson
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 5-1 Jamie Jones
Zhang Anda 5-3 Mostafa Dorgham
Martin O’Donnell 5-2 Himanshu Dain
Matthew Selt 5-4 Dylan Emery
Matthew Stevens 5-3 Anton Kazakov
Judd Trump 5-0 Lukas Kleckers

Barry Pinches 2-5 Julien Leclercq
Ken Doherty 5-0 Jenson Kendrick
David Gilbert 5-0 Dean Young
Jordan Brown 5-4 Long Zehuang
Robert Milkins 5-4 Allan Taylor
Robbie Williams 5-3 Jackson Page
Ryan Day 5-3 Stan Moody
Oliver Brown 5-0 Andres Petrov

Andrew Pagett 5-3 Ahmed Aly Elsayed
Chris Wakelin 5-3 Mohamed Ibrahim
Aaron Hill 5-3 Muhammad Asif
Yuan Sijun 5-2 Ding Junhui
Mark Joyce 5-1 Wu Yize
Si Jiahui 5-4 Lyu Haotian
Alfie Davies 5-4 Sydney Wilson
Mark Selby 1-5 Marco Fu

Neil Robertson 5-1 Sanderson Lam
Jimmy Robertson 5-3 Liam Highfield
Joe Perry 5-0 Ryan Thomerson
Xing Zihao 5-1 Ross Muir
Kyren Wilson 5-3 Oliver Lines
Ben Woollaston 5-1 Anthony Hamilton
Ricky Walden 5-1 Adam Duffy
David Lilley 5-2 Liam Graham

Xiao Guodong 5-1 Ian Burns
Tom Ford 5-0 Baipat Siripaporn
Mark Davis 5-2 Ashley Hugill
Barry Hawkins 5-2 Stuart Carrington
Ben Mertens 5-3 Rory Thor
Fan Zhengyi 5-1 Cao Yupeng
Liu Hongyu 5-0 Dominic Dale
Luca Brecel 2-5 Ishpreet Singh Chadha

Round of 64 (bo9)

Ali Carter 5-1 Peng Yisong
Pang Junxu 5-1 Haydon Pinhey
Zak Surety 5-2 Alexander Ursenbacher
Elliot Slessor w/o Hossein Vafaei
Sam Craigie 5-2 Liam Pullen
He Guoqiang 5-1 Mark Williams
Graeme Dott 5-2 Ashley Carty
Andrew Higginson 2-5 Xu Si

Mark Allen 5-2 Louis Heathcote
Stephen Maguire 3-5 Joe O’Connor
John Higgins w/o Martin Gould
Zhou Yuelong 5-0 Tian Pengfei
Jamie Clarke 5-2 Scott Donaldson
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 5-4 Zhang Anda
Martin O’Donnell 0-5 Matthew Selt
Matthew Stevens 3-5 Judd Trump

Julien Leclercq 5-3 Ken Doherty
David Gilbert 2-5 Jordan Brown
Robert Milkins 5-2 Robbie Williams
Ryan Day 5-3 Oliver Brown
Andrew Pagett 5-3 Chris Wakelin
Aaron Hill 1-5 Yuan Sijun
Mark Joyce 1-5 Si Jiahui
Alfie Davies 5-1 Marco Fu

Neil Robertson 5-0 Jimmy Robertson
Joe Perry 5-1 Xing Zihao
Kyren Wilson 5-1 Ben Woollaston
Ricky Walden 4-5 David Lilley
Xiao Guodong 1-5 Tom Ford
Mark Davis 5-1 Barry Hawkins
Ben Mertens 3-5 Fan Zhengyi
Liu Hongyu 3-5 Ishpreet Singh Chadha

Round of 32 (bo9)

Ali Carter 5-2 Pang Junxu
Zak Surety 5-2 Elliot Slessor
Sam Craigie 5-1 He Guoqiang
Graeme Dott 4-5 Xu Si

Mark Allen 5-2 Joe O’Connor
John Higgins 5-3 Zhou Yuelong
Jamie Clarke 1-5 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Matthew Selt 2-5 Judd Trump

Julien Leclercq 5-1 Jordan Brown
Robert Milkins 1-5 Ryan Day
Andrew Pagett 1-5 Yuan Sijun
Si Jiahui 5-1 Alfie Davies

Neil Robertson 5-1 Joe Perry
Kyren Wilson 5-1 David Lilley
Tom Ford 5-2 Mark Davis
Fan Zhengyi 5-2 Ishpreet Singh Chadha

Round of 16 (bo9)

Ali Carter 5-0 Zak Surety
Sam Craigie 5-4 Xu Si
Mark Allen 2-5 John Higgins
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 2-5 Judd Trump

Julien Leclercq 2-5 Ryan Day
Yuan Sijun 3-5 Si Jiahui
Neil Robertson 3-5 Kyren Wilson
Tom Ford 3-5 Fan Zhengyi

Quarter-Finals (bo9)

Ali Carter 1-5 Sam Craigie
John Higgins 2-5 Judd Trump

Ryan Day 1-5 Si Jiahui
Kyren Wilson 5-0 Fan Zhengyi

Semi-Finals (bo11)

Sam Craigie 2-6 Judd Trump
Si Jiahui 6-3 Kyren Wilson

Final (bo19)

Judd Trump 10-5 Si Jiahui

Featured photo credit: WST

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