Richard Mann previews the German Masters where Judd Trump is the headline act as he bids to continue his stellar campaign.
This year's German Masters looks a particularly tricky puzzle to solve with much depending on how Judd Trump has come out of his landmark victory at the Dafabet Masters less than two weeks ago.
Trump has been a reformed character this season, winning in Northern Ireland and then in London having vowed to knuckle down on the practice table and prove his doubters wrong following some stinging criticism from various corners earlier in the season.
His defeat at the hands of Kyren Wilson in the Champion Of Champions in November appeared to light a fire in Trump, along with Wilson's post-match comments, and their subsequent rivalry has certainly brought out the best in the left-hander in the last few months.
If Trump is at his best again this week, he is a worthy favourite at around the 4/1 mark, though the inevitable post-Masters celebrations were entitled to last a good few days and whether he will be quite as focused on his quick return to the table remains to be seen.
Of course, it might not matter with the German Masters field already shorn of Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Allen and his quarter of the draw looking much easier than the route he safely navigated in London.
Barry Hawkins and Stephen Maguire are the most obvious dangers but with both a little bit below their best in recent weeks, Trump will be confident of progressing to the semi-final stage and, with confidence surely at an all-time high, he'd take some stopping.
While close to putting him up at 4/1, I'm happy to let Trump go on this occasion and instead take a chance on Ryan Day and Joe Perry at much bigger prices.
Day is very interesting having followed his nerveless defeat of John Higgins by pushing O'Sullivan close in the last eight in London, only a rattle of the jaws preventing him from drawing level with The Rocket at 4-4 and leaving a match in which the pair traded punches perfectly poised.
The Welshman has now made six quarter-finals this season and though a potential second-round clash with Ding Junhui here leaves him with a significant obstacle to overcome, outright odds of 33/1 are incentive enough to take a chance on him, especially given that he has been far more consistent than Ding this term.
The fact that Higgins, the man he overcame in the Dafabet Masters and who he could meet again in the last eight this week, is three points shorter to win the third quarter is a significant indication of how much Day has been underestimated in the betting and he is well worth backing each-way.
Perry completes the staking plan at 40/1 in the belief that he is close to something like his best form, an argument that is given strength by the fact he was good enough to beat an in-form Trump at the UK Championship as recently as December.
Perry's run in York ended at the quarter-final stage but he has kept himself busy by playing in the Championship League recently and he qualified for the first round proper here by beating Chris Totten 5-0, breaks of 104, 93, 81, 63, 60 showing his game to be in good working order.
His potential route to the latter stages is by no means an easy one but he will fancy his chances against the inexperienced but hugely-talented Sam Baird in round one, while a likely clash with an out-of-sorts Mark Williams in the second round shouldn't hold any fears.
Having defeated Trump this season, he has shown that he can still mix it with the best and a couple of runs to the quarter-finals of this tournament previously give hope that he could have another big week in him.
At 40/1, I'm happy to pay to find out.
Posted at 1700 GMT on 29/01/19.