Masters snooker 2021: Stuart Bingham beaten by Yan Bingtao in semi-final

Stuart Bingham
Dates: 10-17 January Venue: Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website and the BBC Sport app. Highlights on BBC Two and online.

Chinese debutant Yan Bingtao recovered to stun defending champion Stuart Bingham 6-5 and reach the final of the Masters in Milton Keynes.

Yan, 20, can now become the youngest player to lift the trophy since Ronnie O’Sullivan, who won aged 19 in 1995.

Yan compiled 94 and should have taken control but Bingham stole two frames and made 87 for a 3-1 advantage.

He extended it to 4-2, Yan took three in a row to lead 5-4, holding himself together with 65 in the deciding frame.

In the evening’s second semi-final, two-time champion John Higgins comes up against world number 13 David Gilbert.

Yan won his maiden ranking title at the Riga Open last season and has a solid but unspectacular style of play with an assured and unfazed presence around the table.

He has displayed incredible resolve by winning all three of his matches in a final-frame decider, including a shock victory over world number two Neil Robertson in the first round and edging past Stephen Maguire in the quarter-finals.

The world number 11 fell behind once more against Bingham but seemingly improves when trailing and under pressure, doing significant damage by leaving his opponent without a pot for over an hour.

Yan said: “Today I played very good and made so many excellent long pots. I controlled the table and cueball and the safety was good too.”

Asked if he can go on to win it, he replied: “Maybe. This is a big tournament with only the top 16 players.”

Bingham added: “I am gutted really. I had two or three good chances and from 4-2 up I did not do too much wrong but I was sitting in the chair for so long. I made a match of it at 5-5, but hats off to him he made a good break.

“He has won two deciding frames this week and probably fancied the job. I am disappointed I gave him a good start in that final frame.

“I felt embarrassed out there when I wasn’t playing well. Normally you can read a player out there but he is hard to read, he is so calm and did not look like he was going to miss.”

Analysis – ‘Huge outsider Yan has proven himself’

Six-time world champion Steve Davis on BBC Two:

“Yan played a lot of difficult shots, plays with a lot of composure and is very hard to beat, who knows what he is capable of now?

“He put paid to Stuart Bingham but Yan was stronger on the day, Stuart did not play well enough to dominate.

“Yan does not get ahead of himself in a break, he plays every shot as the first shot of a break so does not build up any emotion and keeps composed.”

1997 world champion Ken Doherty:

“Three 6-5s, tremendous stuff. Even though Bingham came back, Yan’s composure was fantastic in that last frame.

“It is an incredible story, he has played fantastic, he was a huge outsider at the start but has proven himself and looked very composed and relaxed, he seems to be enjoying it too.

“Bingham put up an admirable defence but good luck to Yan in the final on Sunday.”

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