The Master is set to begin at the Ally Pally on Sunday, January 11, 2015 and Ronnie O’Sullivan is favourite to retain the title he won a year ago. When The Rocket defeated Mark Selby 10-4 in the final in order to take his fifth title of 2014 he collected a £200,000 cheque. According to the Ronnie, he is currently playing the best snooker of his career; which is a bold statement given that he has one of the greatest careers of all time within the game.
Over the past year, O’Sullivan has added to his roll of honour, the following: the Welsh Open trophy, a Champion of Champions title and a UK Championship and he additionally made it into the final of the World Championship. Now, he is preparing to reenter his most favorite of tournaments, the Masters, and he is defending his title.
The UK Masters brings together the best sixteen snooker players in a knockout format where each match is settled by way of eleven frames. The tournament forms one third of the triple crown of snooker and carries with it points and rankings in additional to being one of the largest tournaments along the tour. Should O’Sullivan will this year, he would be tied with Steven Hendry with a tally of six Master’s titles.
As betting begins, it will take a brave person to bet against O’Sullivan this time around. It is highly predicted that O’Sullivan will easily defeat Ricky Walden within the first round and move on to the winner of the Fu/Bingham matchup.
Judd Trump is also predicted to go deep into the tournament; making a Trump/O’Sullivan matchup inevitable. Insiders contend that their matchup will mirror the UK Championship and Champion of Champions, which will offers snooker fans an invigorating treat.
O’Sullivan and Trump are virtually guaranteed to be in the final round; and after Trump’s two recent defeats by the hand of the Master, he is sure to use the knowledge gained to combat heavily against a third loss. Trump is currently 7/1 to come out victorious in his first Masters appearance and looks like a solid bet.
Two points each way: Judd Trump 7/1 (Spreadex)
One point: Trump/O’Sullivan final 6/1 (Paddy Power)
Five points O’Sullivan to reach the final 5/6 (General)
It is safe to believe that O’Sullivan will make it to the finals and defend his title and is worth backing to reach the final at 4/5. Looking for each way value from the other half of the draw to bump up winnings will make them much higher. Trump is another obvious selection and 13/2 for him to win his very first Masters is worth the money of an each way.
Mark Selby – 7/1
Mark Selby has won the title three times and seems to consistently his best games of the upcoming year. Selby has maintained a rather decent record when competing against O’Sullivan and had a memorable win over him during last year’s final of the World Championship. The dogged play of Selby kept him in touch with O’Sullivan throughout as he won crucial frames in order to collect the win.
Neil Robertson – 13/2
Since becoming 2010’s World Champion, Robertson has developed quite a ruthless streak. He has been able to, when not producing his very best game, win frames and matches through gritty resolve. Quickly becoming as asset to his break building, that is quite relentless, is Robertson’s has improved his safety play; which has helped him hold on to a number one ranking for 2013 and 2014.
Mark Allen – 16/1
The Irishman has remained a steady fixture within the top sixteen of the sport, but he has not been the same since his 2011 antics that left him a few quid lighter. Allen is more known for his calling for the resignation of snooker chairman Barry Hearn than he is for being victorious act snooker. Since then, it has been obvious that Allen’s game has not been the same. As if the fire feeding his intensity was dimmed quite a bit. If Allen is able to up his potting percentages, he may have a shot at longevity within this year’s Masters.
Judd Trump – 13/2
The only thing that seems to be prohibiting Judd from obtaining a bevy of trophies is Ronnie O’Sullivan. The duo both tend to take risks and are able to go shot for shot with each other. Trump is predicted to have learned a great deal about O’Sullivan’s game after their last two encounters and will be using that knowledge should they face each other in the final.