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Sunday, 2 February 2014

German Masters Final + thoughts on the week.

Ding Junhui is the 2014 German Masters champion after he produced some of his very best snooker to beat Judd Trump 9-5 in front of a packed house at the Tempodrom in Berlin.

This is remarkably the fourth ranking title of the season for the Chinese player,who has now added consistency to his already impressive list of attributes.

The match itself always promised to be a free flowing affair with these two attacking players involved and so it proved to be with the opening four frames taking no time at all,as Trump established an early lead to go to first midsession interval leading 3-1.

Coming back out the players shared the next two frames to move the score along to 4-2 before Ding produced some of his best form to take the next two and leave things perfectly poised going into the evening session at 4-4.

A close tight finish looked on the cards,but Ding had different ideas,as he flew out of the traps taking the first of the night with a 125 and following it up in the next with another century,this time a 101 to go 6-4 This was faultless snooker from the Chinese and he got in again to take the next with a 71 to extend his lead to 7-4.

Trump,who had yet to pot a ball in the evening session,knew the next frame was a big one if he was to have any chance  of mounting a comeback,but although he had his chances in the next he failed to kill it off and Ding clinched it on the black to go 8-4

Coming back out Trump did pull one frame back after the interval to make it 8-5,but although Dings inch perfect control of the white from earlier in the evening seemed to have deserted him,a missed blue in the next allowed him in and he cleared the colours to clinch the 9-5 win.

This was a really superb performance from Ding,who now moves level with Jimmy White on the all time ranking titles list with 10 to his name and it would be a brave to say he's finished yet.

For Trump,once the initial disappointment of losing fades,he can look back on his best week in a ranking tournament for quite some time.Hopefully he can build on this for the rest of the season,as he is far too good a player to not be competing for the games big titles.

So what of the week as a whole? Well firstly you have to once again praise the huge numbers of German fans who packed the Tempodrom each day and gave every match the attention and respect they deserved.It really is lovely to see the game been played in front of such a appreciative audience.The problems here though lay elsewhere.

The flat draw,which in a perfect world is obviously the fairest system you could have,again proved problematic.Here we had 64 players competing(the 128 round having taken place in December) in a tournament that where the main arena was only available for 5 days.This meant,to get down to the one table set up for the semi finals,we had 60 matches having to be completed in three days. Apart from the logistical nightmare this proved to be with seven tables in the main arena and one shoved in somewhere around the back,it also makes it all nearly impossible to follow for those of us who are genuinely making an effort to do so never mind the casual snooker fan.

The other problem is that because of this set up,we only have one televised tables in each session which means only 11 of the 63 matches this week were available to be broadcast.

We also had some serious complaints from the players on the outside tables about conditions with the numbers of "kicks" seemingly way above average.

The weekend action here when we got down to one table showed why this tournament has so quickly established itself as one of the highlights of the season and it would be a real shame if the problems I've outlined above were to take away from this really special event.The enthusiastic German fans do not deserve that.

These are perhaps though discussions for another day.Lets tonight salute our champion and indeed our runner up for producing such great snooker,not just in the final but all week.It is not inconceivable that at just 26 (Ding) and 24 (Judd) that these two have yet to reach their peak and who is to say they can't go on to dominate this game for the next decade.

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