Master Snooker 2016 day one: Murphy begins defence against Allen
Lee Gormley | January 9, 2016
Masters Snooker 2016
- Master Snooker, Day One
- Sunday, January 10th
- Break-offs: 13:00 GMT and 19:00 GMT
- Alexandra Palace, London
- Live on BBC Two or Eurosport
Reigning champion Murphy contests Allen
With the dust still settling at the Alexandra Palace following a thrilling PDC World Darts Championship campaign, defending Masters snooker champion Shaun Murphy returns to the illustrious venue to begin his title defence against Mark Allen.
Snooker’s most prestigious non-ranking event now takes centre stage at the Ally Pally in London, as the Magician looks to emulate his baize heroics 12 months ago, which saw him finally clinch a Masters crown and secure a career Triple Crown.
The defending champion comes up against Northern Ireland’s talented top 16 competitor Allen in their opening encounter on day one, with Murphy 6/4 with Coral to triumph and make the match’s highest break.
Magician holds magical record over Allen
This prolific potting pair have collided on 15 occasions across 113 frames since 2006, but it’s the reigning master Murphy that holds a dominant record, having emerged victorious in 11 of those meetings.
The Magician is a strong favourite at odds-on 8/15 for opening round success, after prevailing in the duo’s previous three baize battles too, but the Pistol poses a threat and is 6/4 to gun down his opponent.
Ronnie O’Sullivan is sure to bring the crowd to the Ally Pally and is tournament favourite on his welcome return, but Murphy will be confident of enjoying another successful campaign too, beginning with his Allen match-up.
World champion Bingham faces misfiring Ding
The opening day’s evening session sees the reigning Crucible king take to the baize, as world champion Stuart Bingham breaks-off against an out-of-form Ding Junhui, an opponent he holds a recent superiority over.
Bingham has been a constant torturer for the Chinese Sensation, with the Basildon-born potter having prevailed in their last seven meetings since 2011, when Ding edged a last 16 final frame decider at the Crucible.
The usually emphatic Asian competitor has endured a blip in the past year by his extremely high standards, but he is 9/4 to put that behind him by winning this opening day clash and making the highest break.
Meanwhile, Bingham earned a 6-4 victory the last time these two battled in a best-of-10 encounter during the 2014 Shanghai Masters and is 13/2 to triumph by that same scoreline this time out in London.
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