JUDD TRUMP v BARRY HAWKINS
Despite some naive observations on Twitter about prize money, Trump remains an obvious fans favourite due to his eye-catching style of play. However, it wasn’t very eye-catching at the UK Championship and two fifth placed finishes at the Championship League last week don’t exactly scream a man in form.
Well, the truth is most top players have peaks and troughs in form in these increasingly long seasons and there’s no reason to assume Trump won’t get it all back together soon.
Hawkins is back at the Masters after a six year gap. His Australian Open success was six months ago but he can be a very heavy scorer and now has a title to prove he can mix it with the best.
But I just get the feeling that the Masters is going to see Trump coming back into the groove.
PREDICTION: Trump 6-4
SHAUN MURPHY v RICKY WALDEN
Walden’s results have not been hugely encouraging since his Wuxi Classic triumph earlier in the season. Murphy has been consistent without winning a title, coming up short to Mark Selby in last month’s UK Championship final.
Walden won their match at the UK Championship last season, thus proving that, on his day, he has the measure of the very top players.
Murphy, though, rarely seems to lose early in tournaments, indeed often starts really impressively.
PREDICTION: Murphy 6-3