Twenty-year old Chinese star Yan Bingtao came the second youngest player to win in The Masters after beating former two-time winner John Higgins, in what proved to be a gripping final. Bingtao, who beat world number two Neil Robertson earlier in the tournament, showed he is a player for the future by displaying admirable battling qualities.
In other matches, the 20-year old won on final frame deciders, the final all though not going to a final frame decider was still hard fought. Former four-time world champion Higgins, who many thought was ‘past it’, silenced some doubters here.
On another day, Higgins would have come out on top. The 45-year old veteran did lead 5-3 and 7-5, but Bingtao won five of the remaining six frames to clinch his maiden rankings event title. This win in Milton Keynes, (the makeshift home of The Masters, due to the Coronavirus) will add to the Riga Masters title Yan Bingtao won last season.
World number six Higgins showed the snooker world, he still has something to offer, that brilliant win against Ronnie O’Sullivan a tournament highlight, but this win for Yan Bingtao, the world number 11 shows that he is a force to be reckoned with.
World number one Judd Trump had to miss the tournament due to Covid concerns, but sitting at home, he will be in the knowledge that he has a new challenge to over take his supremacy at the top of the world game.
Yan did come close to winning a ranking event in 2017, only to beat edged out ny former world number one mark Williams 9-8 in the Northern Ireland Open. So this win, three years on will be all the more sweeter.