Tuesday, July 17, 2012

2012 Shanghai Masters Qualifiers - A few paths and permutations

There's lots of places you can find the draw for the 2012 Shanghai Masters, but this isn't one of them. To make sense of what I'm yammering about in this article, please consult Wikipedia here: 2012 Shanghai Masters

Mark Selby hasn't won a ranking event since the Shanghai Masters at the beginning of last season and although I tipped him to win PTC1, I'm not sure he'll do as well when it comes to the knockout stages in China. I don't really know what to make of the fact that some players seem to play better than others overseas, but Selby seems to be able to win matches anywhere and it can't be seen as an excuse.

Who he'll end up playing in the first round as defending champion remains to be seen

As much as I like to root for him, last year's IBSF world champion Hossein Vafaei from Iran will have to fight through IBSF under-21 world champion Thanawat Thirapongpaiboon, another Thai player in Dechawat Poomjaeng, plus Mike Dunn and Jamie Cope for a place in the knockout round. I expect the challenge will be too great at one stage or another.

Pankaj Advani: Not mentioned in this article.
India's Aditya Mehta started playing really well towards the end of last season and the two-year tour card might begin to show its worth as he's adapted to competitive playing conditions over an extended term. He'll have to get through the James Wattana-Matt Selt-Mark King series of higher-ranked opposition to do so, but I don't discount the possibility.

Elsewhere of note, Canada's Floyd Ziegler is drawn to play Robbie Williams (who I think was a Q School qualifier?) and hopefully he will have made his way to England by then to enter this event after having withdrawn from PTC1. Not knowing a great deal about Robbie Williams and knowing that Floyd is a two-time Canadian champion, I have to think that he's at least got a chance. He would have to defeat the likes of David Gilbert, Gerard Greene and Mark Davis after the fact to book a ticket to China, of course.

Another good draw for Kurt Maflin as he is in line to face Marco Fu if he can win three qualifying matches. Good to see Daniel Wells in the draw again as well with the likes of Ken Doherty and Marcus Campbell standing in his way of qualifying for a venue.

Haphazard Qualifier Predictions:
(NOTE: Predicted results are made with my head, not with my heart--but generally speaking, it doesn't make them any more accurate)

  • Jamie Cope
  • Tom Ford
  • Mark King
  • Andy Hicks
  • Jimmy White
  • Ryan Day
  • Robert Milkins
  • Peter Ebdon
  • Mark Davis
  • Sam Baird
  • Ben Woolaston
  • Liang Wenbo
  • Ken Doherty
  • Anthony Hamilton
  • Marco Fu
  • Cao Yupeng

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