From January 8 to 15, 2023, one of the three biggest competitions of the year will be held in the English capital at Alexandra Palace. At the first big tournament of the season, the UK Championship was won by the Northern Irish player Mark Allen, the World Championship in Sheffield is scheduled for April-May next year. Now sixteen of the strongest snooker players of the world tour will meet in London at the Cazoo Masters. Fights at this event will be held from eleven frames, i.e. up to six victories of one of the participants. The exception is the final, where there will be a meeting of nineteen frames.
Table of Contents
Background of the tournament
In this competition, two current athletes have many titles. Scotland’s Stephen Hendry has six wins and local Ronnie O’Sullivan has one more. In addition, Mark Selby from Leicester has three times excelled from the snooker players currently participating in the tournament. But his previous success took place a long time ago, he was the best in London ten years ago. It is possible to note those who won here twice. There are only three such athletes: Mark Williams from Wales was lucky here in the late 90s and early 2000s, the same goes for the Scottish player John Higgins. In addition to these snooker players, the Australian Robertson managed to play well here, having obtained two victories with a gap of ten years (2012 and 2022).
Neil is the current trophy holder and, along with Ronnie, is rightfully the favorite to win. But it is worth noting that O’Sullivan’s chances are estimated to be higher, even though his previous Masters title dates back to 2017. Next in the list for outright according to betting quotes is the Englishman Judd Trump, who won the competition only once, then two Marks: Selby and Allen. Only five of the 16 participants in the tournament did not win the event in England: 2018 finalist Wilson, Day, Brecel, Xintong, and two-time finalist Hawkins. Who will win at Cazoo Masters? If you want to bet on snooker, you can do it on the 1xbet-uz.mobi website.
Lineups for the first matches
As often happens at prestigious competitions, the winner of the last season holds the starting meeting, and the Masters is no exception in this regard. In the first stage, the fourth cue of the world will have to withstand the pressure of the same age as Murphy. Sean was defeated a year ago already at the initial stage, losing to Barry Hawkins – 2:6. But you can remember his success in 2015, when he won the title at the Masters, beating just Robertson – 10:2. This year, Neil has not yet triumphed, but he has three semi-finals to his credit. As for the English representative, he, too, despite the twelfth number of the rating, clearly does not shine, having recorded only the quarterfinals of the British championship in his own asset. The Australian is the favorite here, he is stronger in head-to-head duels.
Robertson or Murphy’s opponent in the quarterfinals will be the winner of the Wilson-Bingham pair. Stewart won the event in 2020, while Kyren reached the final five years ago. The 8th and 13th numbers already played here in 2022, then in a stubborn duel only in the decisive frame did the younger and superior athlete take over. The struggle in the English derby is probably waiting for the fans even now.
On January 8, Selby and Xintong will also play. The Chinese was defeated at the start a year ago by Higgins – 2:6. There is only one quarter-final in the Champion of Champions event per season. Selby, after starting success over Maguire, was also beaten by Hawkins with one wicket – 1:6. Well, now Mark clearly does not show results that are comparable to his ambitions: three exits in the 1⁄4 finals and a semi-final. In personals, Selby is better, and he is still a three-time winner of the tournament.
Mark or Zhao will face Higgins or Lisowski. In recent years, the games between them are very stubborn. John lost to Williams a year earlier and reached the final in 2021. Lisowski last season was without a chance defeated by Ronnie – 1:6. The sixth cue is the favorite here.
O’Sullivan will start on January 9th. His opponent will be Brecel, who missed the previous event without going through the rankings. But now Luka is already in the top 16 and is having a good season. In November last year, the “rocket” was able to easily win. And at Masters last year he was stopped by the winner Robertson – 4:6. The Belgian already has experience of victories over Ronnie and is now able to impose a fight.
In the 1⁄4 finals, either Yan or Williams is waiting for Luka. Bingtao was able to take the Masters trophy two years ago, outplaying all his colleagues in the decisive frame, not counting the final. But last season, the Chinese was already beaten at the start by Williams with a score of 6:4. The Welshman himself reached the semi-finals at that competition, stumbling in a serious fight against Neil. Considering the “personal” players, Mark is again considered the favorite.
A well-seasoned Allen will face off against the local Hawkins. Mark lost 5:6 to Trump a year earlier, for which he can hardly be blamed. Barry played in the 2022 final, but lost to Robertson without options – 4:10. “Hawk” peaked in the summer and did not have any significant success in the fall and winter. In fact, the opponent is convenient for the Northern Irishman.
If successful, either Hawkins or Allen will come out on top in the confrontation between Day and Trump. Judd had probably the most favorable lot in the first round. With the right attitude, the “ace” and Ronnie are not a hindrance. However, at the Masters in 2022, one step before the final, he was beaten by Hawkins. The current season at the 3rd number is not impressive, I played in the Champions of Champions final and that’s it. Ryan has in the asset of the British Open. At the Masters, the 42-year-old snooker player was not ranked. The Welshman is a convenient player for the Englishman in matches up to 5-6 victories.
Our forecast Obviously, the main favorite of the competition is Ronnie’s first cue. He has a comfortable grid to the semi-finals. Well, Dean is not here, who defeated the Englishman at the UK Championship. Neela to defend the title and that’s extra pressure. Also, the blocks can compete with the younger generation: Allen and Trump. These athletes need to play out, then it is very difficult to keep the guys. It is unlikely that anyone other than these four snooker players is able to aim at the trophy.