Sports Editor


The “Wishaw Wizard” was defeated by an up-and-coming Yan Bingtao in the Master’s final.

45-year-old Wishaw born John Higgins, was defeated by Yan Bingtao in the most dramatic fashion earlier this week at the Masters snooker tournament.

Bingtao, a name that is starting to become extremely familiar in the snooker universe has become even more well-known as he was crowned the youngest Masters champion at the age of 20, since Ronnie O’Sullivan back in 1998. Ranked number 11 in the world, the Chinese-born player managed to pull off an extraordinary victory of 10-8, in a match which could not have been closer.

John Higgins caused a huge upset of his own in the tournament after beating seven-time world Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-3 in the quarter-finals and then a tight 6-4 semi-final victory against David Gilbert, Higgins hot form was expected to be enough to earn him his third Master’s title. Whereas Bingtao, recorded his best career break against Stephen Maguire in the quarters, to then claw back and eventually defeat defending champion Stuart Bingham in a gruelling 6-5 encounter.

Throughout the majority of the final, Higgins the “Wishaw Wizard” looked to have a firm grip of the match, having excellent opportunities to go 6-3 and 8-5 in front. But unfortunately for Higgins, was unable to bring it over the line as he missed some crucial shots. Bingtao showed incredible control to remain in the game and eventually pounce on his opponent’s mistakes in the latter stages of the match. The undisputed Chinese champion certainly showed comparable signs of a young Higgins and O’Sullivan in the final as he attempts to make a huge impact on the next generation of players.

Bingtao, who moved to Sheffield at the age of 16 to learn the game, has been making some exceptional strides as he became the second Chinese-born champions of the Masters. Earning himself a tidy £250,000 purse for winning the tournament. With the World Championship not too far away now, Bingtao can certainly consider himself one of the top dogs of the upcoming tournament.


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