Masters snooker: Yan Bingtao stuns John Higgins to win title on debut

Yang Bintao is the 2021 Masters champion (Photo: Getty Images).

Yang Bintao, 20, defeated John Higgins 10-8 to win the 2021 Masters in his tournament debut in a stunning upset.

The Chinese star swept aside the big names en route to the final, leaving Neil Robertson, Steven Maguire and Stuart Bingham behind before the four-time world champion was eliminated on Sunday night.

The world number 11 easily secured the biggest win of his career and the £250,000 silver first prize and the incredible Paul Hunter Trophy.

It was an intense battle throughout, with the winner not determined at any point until Ian crossed the finish line in the 18th and final frame with a 64 break.

Every man has made a century in the competition, which has been made more tiresome and more enthralling than of the highest quality, though there has sometimes been excellence of both in the exhibition.

Ian is not the youngest champion in the history of the tournament. Ronnie O’Sullivan won the title in 1995 when he was only 19 years old.

He is the second Chinese player to win the Masters, after Ding Junhui in 2011, and the first man to make his tournament debut since Mark Selby in 2008.

Higgins said of the champion: He’s been fantastic, he has an incredibly full game.

He is undoubtedly a world champion, China is lucky to have him.

Read more: Snooker

For his first participation in the Triple Crown Finals, Yang Bintao immediately established himself as a duck in the water, catching the first shot after 66 minutes.

However, the rest of the first session was followed by some rather nasty snooker from the two men.

The next two frames were split before Higgins won three frames in a row with breaks of 63 and 98 for a 4-2 lead.

Yan responded with 97, but the Scot put in another half-cent (52) to end the session.

The 20-year-old was clearly not happy that the first session did not go as he had hoped. He came back in the evening and won the first two frames, both close together, and again showed extraordinary strength.

Quality was really on the rise at this point, didn’t let Higgins get it to him, doing 74 and 116 over the next two to take a 7-5 lead.

The two-time champion was the big favorite at this point, but Jan doesn’t seem to be able to hit. He hit 13 of them. Black came out in the first frame, then paused in the 103rd to equalize again.

Another difficult frame in the 15th, and again Ian took the black ball to lead 10 frames at a crucial time in the race.

Higgins made it 8-8 with a 63, but Ian made a 70, one stroke away from victory and £250,000.

Both men appeared in the 18th century. Nerves raw for the first time, both missed the easy reds, but Yan did enough to take the win on a 64 break.

MORE: Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stephen Hendry make the latest predictions for the Masters.

MORE: Ronnie O’Sullivan admits he’s sorry John Higgins lost his head in the loss of the Masters.

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Masters snooker: Yan Bingtao stuns John Higgins to win title on debut

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