Riga Ghetto and Sakiai Gulbele Day 1 blockbuster headlines loaded Nanjing Masters
NANJING (China) - An opening day blockbuster between world No.3 Riga Ghetto (LAT) and in-form Sakiai Gulbele (LTU) headlines a loaded Nanjing Masters on October 12-13, 2019.
Pool C sees Doha and Prague Masters champs Riga Ghetto face an early battle against Sakiai Gulbele, who won the Montreal Masters last month. The Latvians could be vulnerable without superstar Karlis Lasmanis, who underwent surgery on his ankle and is out for the rest of the season.
The Lithuanians could well strike and are in the mix for one of the two remaining spots up for grabs in the Masters Final in Utsunomiya next month.
But the Eastern Europeans might not get their own way with New York City (USA) looming as a dark horse having recently finished second at the Kaohsiung City Challenger.
Pool A is headlined by Novi Sad (SRB) who boast the wizardry of Dusan Bulut and sharpshooter Dejan Majstorovic. The world No.1 have not been able to triumph in their last four Masters ever since winning in Chengdu and Mexico City earlier in the season.
The Serbs will start hot favorites against Utsunomiya (JPN) and the team ranked second in the qualifying draw.
No.2 seeds Liman (SRB) have top billing in Pool B as they contest another Masters event. The Serbs are the only team to have qualified for every Masters of the season and have made the semis on six occasions.
Liman will boast their familiar stars led by scoring machine Mihailo Vasic, who is the leading scorer on the tour. But they will get an early test against Edmonton (CAN) who finished second in Montreal.
Edmonton sit seventh on the current World Tour standings as they try to make the Utsunomiya Final in their first season. Led by sniper Steve Sir, the Canadians have made it to the knockout stages in four of the five Masters they’ve contested.
Pool D is set to be a battle off between No.4 seeds NY Harlem (USA) and No.5 seeds Amsterdam (NED). The New Yorkers have been one of the hottest teams this season highlighted by winning the Lausanne Masters.
Kidani Brutus has been a bucket getter in the Challengers circuit and will be reunited with Dominique Jones aka Disco Domo who is set to electrify the fans with his usual insane moves. And they boast Marcel Esonwune who dominates the air with emphatic rejections and rim-shaking dunks.
Team Amsterdam have made the knockout stages in all four Masters events they've played this season and will be at full-strength in Nanjing.
The 12 participating teams - featuring seven of the top 10 ranked teams - compete for USD $75,000 and points to climb up the World Tour standings. Unlike last year, the Masters winners do not qualify directly to the World Tour Final.
The top 12 teams in the standings after the last Masters will head to Utsunomiya, Japan where the final will be played on November 2-3.