Who are the Masters 2022 contenders?
A look at the Masters 2022 contenders
The best darts players have exited stage left but the top-class sport continues at the Alexandra Palace as the world’s greatest snooker stars are now set to assemble at the London venue.
One of snooker’s three Triple Crown events, the Masters pits the best against the best as the top 16 players around take part in this week-long straight knockout event.
Yan Bingtao picked up the trophy when the event was held behind closed doors in Milton Keynes 12 months ago, but crowds are back and are sure to make it a raucous atmosphere as we look at the Masters 2022 contenders.
All of the action can be seen on the BBC and Eurosport starting on January 9.
Undoubtedly one of the most talented players to ever pick up a cue, it is no surprise to see the world number one chalked up as the 3/1 favourite for glory at Alexandra Palace and he is one of the leading Masters 2022 contenders.
Some will feel Trump has a point to prove having missed last year’s event due to a positive Covid-19 test and despite plenty of success on tour over the last 12 months, his performances have not lived up to expectations in the Triple Crown events.
As someone who has compiled over 800 century breaks in his career, the ‘Ace in the Pack’ will be desperate to add to his Masters tally having lifted the trophy with a comprehensive victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2019.
The former world champion and world number one is the only player from outside of the UK to complete the prestigious Triple Crown and looks to maintain his record of winning at least one tournament a year since 2006 at the earliest opportunity.
The Australian is 5/1 to land the Masters for a second time and gets his tournament under way on the opening night with a potential banana skin against Scotland’s Anthony McGill.
Victory on the baize then would open the door for a potential quarter-final showdown with O’Sullivan.
The pair played out a fantastic finale to the World Grand Prix before Christmas and Robertson would love the opportunity to avenge that defeat in O’Sullivan’s back yard.
One of snooker’s all-time greats, O’Sullivan has to be considered as a Masters 2022 contender and is also listed as 5/1 to add an eighth Masters title to his CV.
He arrives in peak condition following his 10-8 win over Robertson in Coventry last month. That World Grand Prix victory was a deserved success having made four other finals without lifting a trophy aloft in 2021 and his name is synonymous with this invitation-only event which is played in front of O’Sullivan’s adoring home fans.
He has made the final of this competition 13 times and has taken part in some of the most memorable matches this event has produced.
His first victory came in 1995, but he had to suffer three final defeats and a 10-year wait before downing John Higgins 10-3 in 2005.
The duo recommenced their rivalry in the final 12 months later with O’Sullivan claiming the title in a final-frame shoot-out, before beating Ding Junhui to win the Masters for a third straight year in 2007.
The reigning world champion has been far from his best so far this season, but is 6/1 for a fourth success at the Masters.
He has made the final five times in total and although he often chooses to have his game peaking for the World Championship in the spring, the Jester from Leicester has to be seen as one of our leading Masters 2022 contenders.
He has played O’Sullivan three times in the final at Alexandra Palace, avenging his 10-8 loss in 2009 with a deciding-frame victory 12 months later.
They last met in the final here in 2014 when O’Sullivan was a convincing 10-4 winner, but Selby gained his revenge at the Crucible four months later when taking the World Championship 18-14 in Sheffield.
A finalist 12 months ago, two-time Masters champion Higgins is an 8/1 chance in the Masters betting for a third success at this event.
However, he has been handed a tough assignment in the opening round when he is set to face UK champion Zhao Xintong.
If the Wizard of Wishaw is able to overcome the 24-year-old Chinese starlet then he could get the opportunity to avenge last year’s final loss to Bingtao in the quarters.
A member of the historic ‘Class of 1992’, Higgins is third on the all-time list of tournament victories behind his great rival O’Sullivan and Scottish compatriot Stephen Hendry.
A prolific break builder and deadly in a match-play situation, the wise old head of the baize also has just O’Sullivan ahead of him in the number of century breaks made in professional tournaments and in the number of competitive maximum 147 breaks.
John Higgins has made the first 147 maximum break at the World Championship since 2012.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 6, 2020
Although a four-time ranking event winner, Wilson is still waiting for his breakthrough victory in a Triple Crown event.
He was a beaten finalist here at Alexandra Palace in the 2018 Masters final and also lost in the final of the sport’s showpiece event, the World Championship, in 2020.
Priced at 14/1 for Masters glory in 2022, he doesn’t start his tournament until Wednesday and will be hoping to hit the ground running when he faces Stuart Bingham.
He could then reignite his feud with Trump in the quarter-finals if both come through their opening assignments unscathed.
The Chinese star excelled behind closed doors in Milton Keynes last season, but faces a tough ask to defend his title and is set to face the evergreen Mark Williams in round one.
That is perhaps the main contributing factor to a price of 14/1, but he could make that look silly if disposing of the Welshman in the opening match and getting on a roll at the Alexandra Palace.
It could then be a repeat of last season’s final in the quarter-final with the winner of Bingtao/Williams set to meet Higgins or Bingtao’s Chinese compatriot Xintong.
A granite-like competitor, Bingtao’s run to last year’s final included deciding-frame victories over Roberton, Maguire and Stuart Bingham before coming from behind to beat Higgins 10-8 in a thrilling conclusion to the event.
You only need to win four matches to take home the Masters trophy and with the draw stacked with the best snookering talent, it is not out of the question that an outsider walks away with the first prize, as Bingtao did in 2021.
Bingtao’s compatriot Xintong announced himself to the sporting world with victory in the UK Championship in York last month and with that historic tournament already on his CV, he could quickly add more silverware.
One of our top 10 to watch in 2022, the Chinese potting machine is 20/1 and can’t be ignored in our look at the Masters 2022 contenders, while Mark Allen won this tournament in 2018 and makes some appeal at 20/1.
Although eliminated in the first round in the three years since, he looks back to something like his best following some well-documented troubles off the table in the past few years.
One of the biggest and most controversial characters on the tour, he secured an emotional victory in the Northern Ireland Open in 2021, beating Higgins 9-8 in a nerve-racking final.
World number 12 Bingham defied the odds to become the oldest winner of the Masters in 2020 and at 33/1 could represent plenty of value once again as the last of our Masters 2022 contenders.
The Essex potter made the semi-final of the World Grand Prix recently and is a phenomenal break-builder when at his best, which could get the London crowd drooling in delight at Alexandra Palace.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication