The first ranking event of the 2019/20 season is fast approaching and many players are looking to get their season off to a good start and set the standard for the rest of the snooker year. With his exemplary form last season, Neil Robertson is looking to be in a fine position to defend his title from last year.
Relatively speaking, the (Kaspersky) Riga Masters quite a young event having only been introduced in 2014. For the first 2 years, it was known as the ‘Riga Open’ and was run as a minor-ranking event. This meant that the points obtained by players in this event contributed to their ranking position but at a lower rate than a standard ranking event. It was in 2016 when the event was renamed and converted to a full ranking tournament.
Like most tournaments, the Riga Masters involves 128 players qualifying to compete in the tournament. The event consists of a series of best-of-7 or first to 4 matches all the way up until the semi-final and final where this ups (slightly) to a best-of -9 or first to 5. The winner of the Riga Masters is able to take home a cool £50,000 while second place earns £25,000.
The total prize fund for this year’s Riga Masters has increased from £259k to £278k (7%) where the extra funds have been allocated to a rise in the high break prize and for those in the Last-64 bracket.
The Riga Masters is a good tournament to view which players are ones to keep an eye on for the remainder of the season. However, it doesn’t tell us the story entirely considering that many players choose not to compete in this event.
Previous winners include Mark Selby, Barry Hawkins, Neil Robertson (twice) and Ryan Day. The Riga Masters is held in Latvia’s capital and then players are off to China to compete in the International Championship!