- Seven-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan is the No.1 seed after his victory here last year. As well as having a fantastic Masters record, he has been in sparkling form over the past couple of months and has won the Shanghai Masters and UK Championship since the start of November.
- World No.1 Mark Selby has enjoyed a solid rather than spectacular season so far but did win the International Championship. He has won the Masters three times, but has failed to make the final for the past three years.
- Shaun Murphy showed that he is in good form with a run to the final of the UK Championship in December, while Mark Williams won the recent Northern Ireland Open. Judd Trump, Ding Junhui, John Higgins and Masters debutant Luca Brecel have also won ranking tournaments this year.
In a tournament featuring only the 16 best players in the world there are no easy sections to the draw, but the top two seeds have both been given particularly tough openers. Ronnie O’Sullivan has to play the dangerous Marco Fu, while at the other end of the draw Mark Selby has been pitted against Northern Ireland Open winner Mark Williams.
Ding Junhui and John Higgins are the two class acts in the second quarter of the draw but both have been a bit below their best in the last few events. In the third quarter, Judd Trump has also been inconsistent, so there could be an opportunity for Shaun Murphy to come through to the semi-finals at least. Murphy is the only player apart from O’Sullivan to have won the Masters in the past four years and showed with his run to the final of the UK Championship that he is coming back to his best. Considering his Masters record, form and draw, an Each Way flutter at 14/1 to go all the way could be lucrative.
Sports.net’s Top Tip:
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.