Mon, 08 Mar 2021

China's Yan into final at Snooker Masters

17 Jan 2021, 11:30 GMT+10

LONDON, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese debutant Yan Bingtao came from behind to knock out defending champion Stuart Bingham 6-5, reaching the final at the Snooker Masters on Saturday.

Yan, 20, qualified for the prestigious invitational tournament for the first time with a personal best world ranking of 11. After beating Australian ace Neil Robertson, world number eight Stephen Maguire, and reigning champion Bingham in a row, he became the youngest Masters finalist since Ding Junhui finished runner-up in 2007.

"I didn't expect to win another decider, but I was really pleased I got through. I was very nervous in the final frame. My body started shaking, but I'm happy I held my nerve," Yan told the World Snooker Tour website.

Yan came from 4-2 down to take a 5-4 lead before the 44-year-old Bingham won the scrappy tenth frame. Then the Chinese hopeful showed great composure to seal the victory in the deciding frame, just as he did in the previous two matches.

Yan is going to face John Higgins in Sunday's final as the experienced Scot defeated David Gilbert 6-4 in the other semifinal on Saturday.

If Yan beats the 45-year-old Higgins, he will become the youngest Masters champion since Ronnie O'Sullivan took the victory in 1995 at the age of 19.

"I don't want to put too much pressure on myself. I will take tomorrow in the same way as the other matches. I am already happy to make it this far," said Yan.

This year's Masters opened in Milton Keynes, England on Sunday. This is the first year the tournament has been held outside London, as organizers were forced to make the change due to COVID-19 restrictions.

World number one Judd Trump and the 14th-ranked Jack Lisowski both withdrew from the tournament after having tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of their matches.

Elsewhere, China's top player Ding lost to six-time world champion O'Sullivan in the opening round. But O'Sullivan failed to make it further as he lost to Higgins in the quarterfinals.

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