Mark Selby, the defending champion, is a big favourite to beat Mark King in the first round of the Ladbrokes Mobile Masters today, just as he was in the opening round of the 2008 World Championship when King beat him 10-8.

King’s continued presence in the top 16 proves that snooker is not just about scoring. It is also about getting stuck in for a scrap, as Mark Williams demonstrated at the UK Championship last month.

Selby has made 35 centuries in all tournaments this season; King has contributed just three.

But where King does excel is in frames where balls are on cushions and colours off their spots.

He’s a street-fighting snooker player: determined, pugnacious and fiercely competitive.

Witness his defeat of Ricky Walden in the deciding frame of their match in the 2009 Grand Prix, in which he needed three snookers on the brown.

Selby, though, is – to understate things a tad – at home at Wembley Arena.

From three appearances he has won the title twice and been runner-up on the other occasion.

Certain players have tournaments they always seem to do well in and this is Selby’s. It would be a shock if he lost this afternoon.

Peter Ebdon has never beaten Ali Carter in a match of any significance and the 2002 world champion, now 40, struggles for consistency these days.

In 17 previous Wembley appearances Ebdon has only appeared in two Masters semi-finals, a surprisingly low return.

I guess certain players also have tournaments in which they don’t do so well, the Masters for Ebdon being a case in point.

Carter, having won two ranking titles, will be targeting the sport’s ‘majors’ and his past record over Ebdon will make him confident when they clash tonight.

It will probably come down to whether Ebdon can publish any mistakes and make those clearances you need to make in matches of this profile.

The Masters began in 1975 and has a rich history. More chapters will be written this week – let’s hope the tournament matches up to its status.


Betty Logan said...

The King-Selby tie should be a fast free flowing affair, I wish I had a ticket for it.

Has a reason been given for the lack of wildcards this year? I respect the decision to make it "pure" (although ironically it isn't the 'official' top 16 anymore), but it's always nice to see Jimmy on TV; he probably doesn't have many seasons left on the tour.

Anonymous said...

lets hope ebbo does some publishing :D

Anonymous said...

Am i right in thinking this is the last Masters to be staged atWembley? I'm sure Barry Hearn said the venue was too big


dzierzgul said...

Selby's new haircut seems to be a deliberate pastiche of Ronnie's. I cannot help feeling that he's set out to write another chapter in their off-table rivalry...

Demon Potter said...

Murphy has also gone for the 'geek' look as well, like Selby. Is there something in the air this season?

Anonymous said...

dz, ron is the last person any self respecting human would want to model themself on imho.

Matt said...

Well done Mark King on beating Mark Selby 6-4 like you say, Dave it is a shock

Leon said...

Good play by King. Ebdons also look good and he could win Champion Master title.

Good attendee two.

Colin M said...

Haircuts aside, I enjoyed this encounter. Well played Mark King! Very classy high break of 139....

Anonymous said...

Didnt notice any off-putting quips from the jester yesterday.
Well done, stressed out King. Youve made the tournament that bit more watchable

jamie brannon said...

It was the best I have ever seen Mark King play yesterday, his breakbuilding was of a higher standard than normal. He said that he had been taking advice off Stephen Hendry.

Really pleased for Mark, who seems a top geezer and he is talked about little by snooker journalists and fans.

Got the feeling some maybe didn't like him, due to his aversion to Barry Hearn's proposals.

From the outside, King seems a really likeable chap and although he can be a bit pedestrian, he has a neat touch in the balls that makes him enjoyable to watch, at times.