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Saturday, 2 February 2013

German Masters Semi Final preview + round up of week so far.

It may be a truly unique venue with its open plan meaning the audience can see the action from all five tables,but for me it is when it comes down to the one table that the Tempodrome and indeed the German crowds come into their own.

That will be the case today when firstly Neil Robertson takes on Ali Carter and then Marco Fu plays Barry Hawkins all hoping to reach tomorrows final.

Before I get into those matches I'll quickly look back at the week.This was our first chance to see how the flat draw might work next season and I don't think anyone who was apprehensive about it would have had their  fears allayed here.I'm not sure if it was the fact that so many of the top players had their qualifying matches held over to the venue or that the tournament was been played out over 5 days ,but to my eyes it all seemed very rushed,with some players having to play twice in the one day.

As I've said before none of us know how the flat 128 draw will work yet but if it is like this with some players getting matches held over to main venue, then any idea's they may have that this is a fair system will go out the window.We'll just have to wait and see.

As for the action it was a funny week.There was a time last October where it looked as if we were going to have a season dominated by Judd Trump and John Higgins but how that has changed.Higgins was the first to exit here losing to Peter Lines and Trumps worrying slump in form continued as he lost 5-4 to Anthony Hamilton.Of course no player can win every match and for these two it is surely only matter of time until they are firing again.The same applies to Stephen Maguire who lost 5-0 to Mark King here.

Onto the players who are still here and obviously playing well though and first up today are Neil Robertson and Ali Carter.Robertson was perhaps involved in the game of the week last night when he scrapped by Shaun Murphy 5-4.He had seemed in control leading 4-2 but having watched Murphy steamroller his way to 4-4 with back to back centuries he held himself together well to advance.Carter on  the other hand has had a much more serene passage to the semi finals and beat Micheal Holt 5-2 last night set up todays clash.This could be a close encounter especially f Carter can get his scoring going early, but I feel Robertson will be too strong and I expect him to reach yet another final.

The other semi final between Marco Fu and Barry Hawkins is a clash between two of the games great underachievers.These two men have all the talent to have won many titles but have never really delivered as they might.Hawkins of course has already been in the winners circle this season but rather unfairly his victory in the Australian Open has been devalued by many because so many of the top 16 didn't play.This week he has arguably been the best performer so far with a stunning 5-1 win over Mark Allen in the last 16 and he followed that up by finally bringing to an end the winning run of Mark Seby in the quarters again winning 5-1.
Fu has also had a steady week and beat Matthew Stevens 5-3 to reach this semi.This match could go anyway but purely on what he has done this week so far i'm going to plug for Hawkins.

So there we have it.This may not be the semi final line up that people would have expected but lets hope the German public are rewarded for there enthusiasm with a weekend equal to what we've had in the last two years.

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