Zhao Xintong’s breakout season continued as he added the German Masters crowd to his UK Championship win, whitewashing Yan Bingtao 9-0.
The 24-year-old has long been tipped for big things, but he suffered a couple of disappointing seasons after a run to the semi-finals of the China Championship in 2018.
He hit the big time with victory in the UK Championship at the end of last year and, after poor showings at the World Grand Prix, Masters and Shoot Out, he returned to form to take the Brandon Parker Trophy at the Tempodrom in Berlin.
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The damage was done in the afternoon, as he kept friend and fellow Chinese star Yan Bingtao completely cold.
Cold could have been replaced with freezing, as Yan paid for the errors as Zhao won all eight frames in the afternoon session.
Yan was unable to avoid the whitewash, as Zhao wrapped up victory in the first frame of the evening to become only the third player to win a two-session ranking event without conceding a frame.
Zhao entered rarefied air occupied by Steve Davis, who beat Dean Reynolds 10-0 in the 1989 Grand Prix, and Neil Robertson, who crushed Zhou Yuelong 9-0 in the European Masters.
In completing the win, he also became the second Chinese player to win the German Masters, following on from Ding Junhui in 2014.
Ding was the flagbearer for the Chinese game, and is still competing to a high level despite a tough time this term, but Zhou looks like taking over the baton.
Zhao Xintong has an iron grip of the final after opening up an 8-0 lead of over Yan Bingtao in the race to nine.
Yan, who won thrillers against Mark Selby, Ryan Day and Mark Allen to reach the final, had the look of a player whose well had run dry.
He had scoring opportunities, but failed to take them and the UK champion punished his errors - with Zhao on the brink of victory going into the evening at the Tempodrom.
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In what was a scene-setter for the afternoon session, Yan got in first in the opener but broke down on 34 and Zhao stepped in with a 74 to open his account.
Both players had chances in the second, but Yan paid the price for a sloppy safety. Trailing by 24 points, he stuck a red over the bottom left and Zhao’s long-potting prowess was never going to let him down. Zhao did not close out the frame and had to endure a long safety exchange after Yan chased and got a snooker, but good pots on green and blue secured a two-frame lead.
Yan passed up a chance in the third, albeit a tough black bridging over a red and paid a heavy price as Xhao ruthlessly swept up his sixth ton of the tournament, a break of 118.
Zhao ensured he would take a 4-0 lead into the mid-session interval by knocking in a break of 84, but was denied a second century after going in off.
Yan’s woes continued in the fifth, as he got in once again but missed a blue with his break on 33, and Zhao left his fellow countryman to sink deep in his seat with a break of 89.
It was Zhao’s turn to miss when at the table in the sixth, but unfortunately for Yan he had already put 68 on the board. Yan countered and got down to the final red, but he failed to shift it from its safe position on the right rail and a couple of shots later, Zhao knocked it in.
A puff of the cheeks from Zhao showed that even at 5-0 up, he had no desire to take his foot off the gas.
Yan had a chance to stem the bleeding and ensure there would be no whitewash when making a break of 60 in the seventh, but he missed a red which was frame ball and was hit hard again. Zhao opened his counter with an audacious plant and picked off the remaining reds and colours to open up a 7-0 advantage.
Zhao completed a shutout of his friend by taking the eighth. Yan thought he had played a decent break with the cue ball tight on the baulk cushion, but it did not deter Zhao who rolled in a red and set about his business.
He broke down on 46, but Yan's counter amounted to little and Zhao wrapped up an 8-0 lead.
The fans in the Tempodrom will hope Yan mounts some sort of fightback in the evening, but on this evidence it could be a quick kill.
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