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Selby and magician Murphy kick off Masters snooker in style

Reigning world snooker champion Mark Selby begins his bid to reclaim the coveted Masters title from hot tournament favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan with a tough-looking opening round match-up with Shaun ‘the Magician’ Murphy at Alexandra Palace.

As ‘the Jester from Leicester’ holds the edge 16-15 in head-to-heads with the Rotherham native, Coral make Selby an odds-on 8/11 favourite for victory. He is also an 8/1 chance for a fourth Masters crown.

Selby and Murphy, who is missing this title from his CV (16/1 to win the tournament), have one win apiece in previous Masters meetings, though, so the Magician is 11/10 to dump his Leicester opponent out of the competition here.

They encountered each other at this non-ranking tournament last year at the semi-final stage. Selby thumped Murphy 6-1, and a repeat result is a 12/1 chance. Alternatively, the Magician mauled the Jester 6-2 in the 2012 quarters, and that scoreline is a 10/1 shot to occur again.

Coral also offer some match specials, which are back by popular demand after the UK Championship which we sponsored, that offer better prices on victory for these two top players because they must also make the highest break of their meeting for punters to win. In this market, Murphy is 3/1 and Selby 9/4.

Also in action on day one is 2011 finalist Marco Fu (40/1 to go one better this year) takes on a man who has struggled to make an impression at the Masters in Stuart Bingham. ‘The Ball Run’ has never got past round one, so Hong Kong’s Fu is fantastic value at 11/8 to knock him out.

Despite his dismal record at this event, and five wins apiece in their previous meetings, eighth seed Bingham is an odds-on 4/7 favourite, but this position simply looks false.

Back Fu, then, to continue Bingham’s Masters misery, perhaps by a 6-4 scoreline (15/2) as that was the exact result when they last met in a best of 11 frames format.