The opening day of the Turkish Masters sees the held over matches being played out along with some action from the first round as the inaugural staging of this eagerly anticipated event gets up and running.
We have some real heavy hitters taking to the baize in Antalya right from the off in this tournament despite one or two still making their way over to this part of the world after their exertions in the Welsh Open last week.
We were due to have four matches in this first session of play but one of them has been shifted to allow for those who went deep in the Welsh Open to make it out here. That leaves us with three matches where Martin Gould will be the highest ranked player on show. He meets David Grace in the first round of the main draw while the other match in the tournament proper sees the former Welsh Open champion Jordan Brown going up against Ashley Hugill. There is one held over match from qualifying in this session and it is a huge one for Thepchaiya Un-Nooh who really needs to be taking care of the home amateur Ismail Turker.
Kyren Wilson will headline the afternoon session out in Antalya when he plays his qualifying match which was held over to the main venue. That pits him against Rory McLeod for a place in the main draw. Four first round matches also take place in this session. They see the UK Championship and German Masters winner Zhao Xintong starting his quest for another major title when he meets Michael White while Michael Holt takes on Lukas Kleckers and Matthew Selt meets Alexander Ursenbacher. The other match in this session sees the Welsh youngster Jackson Page taking on Simon Lichtenberg.
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We should have been enjoying Mark Selby in his held over qualifying match in the evening session but he has withdrawn. Haydon Pinhey steps in for him and faces Wu Yize. Four first round matches take place in this session as well and it is Scottish evening in Antalya by the looks of it as John Higgins is the biggest name on show. He will go up against Dylan Emery while Anthony McGill will face the newly crowned WSF champion Si Jiahui. The other Scot on show is Graeme Dott who meets his compatriot Scott Donaldson while the other match pits Anthony Hamilton against Tom Ford.
I’ll ease my way into the week as I so often do at the minute. I like one bet on Monday and it comes in the evening session where the odds against on Si Jiahui to stay within a frame of Anthony McGill really appeals to me. Last week in Wales the Chinese ace took care of Gary Wilson and gave Judd Trump a run for his money before he was knocked out by the eventual runner up. On the other side of the fence McGill, who I had high hopes for going into the week, went down in a deciding frame to Zhang Anda.
I think Jiahui is a better player than Zhang, or has the potential to be, so he should give McGill a game here, especially if McGill is in one of his make life as hard as possible for himself moods like he tends to fall into. Jiahui has already taken care of Shaun Murphy in the UK Championship this season and he had a good win over Dominic Dale in qualifying for this. McGill has been playing better since the turn of the year but he keeps on losing matches he should win when his opponent gets him into a scrap. I’ll back Si Jiahui to run him close here.
Back S.Jiahui (+1.5 frames) to beat A.McGill for a 3/10 stake at 2.20 with BetVictor
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