Yan Bingtao became the first debutant to win the Masters since 2008 when fighting back to beat John Higgins 10-8 in a gripping final at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
The 20-year-old showed his resolve by winning his first three rounds in final-frame deciders, and he needed all that determination to overcome one of the finest players to grace the game.
He trailed 5-3 after the first session, but stole the first two frames of the night and they filled him with confidence to go on and emulate Mark Selby who won the Masters in 2008 at the first attempt.
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Yan pinched the ninth when it looked sure to go to Higgins. The Scot stroked in a 67, but he missed a black that was frame ball and the youngster stepped in to force a re-spot on the black. Higgins is a master at safety play, but Yan got the better of the exchange on the black and knocked in a tough pot to the left corner to cut the gap to one.
The 10th frame followed a similar path to the ninth as Higgins got in and split the pack, only to miss a yellow. A confident Yan stepped in and knocked in a break of 76 to draw level.
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Higgins is made of stern stuff and he gave Yan a taste of his own medicine in the 11th. The Chinese youngster got in first with a 51, but he left Higgins a plant that he stroked in which set up a break of 74 to pinch the frame and restore his advantage.
After the setback of throwing away the first two frames of the night, Higgins ensured he would be two frames ahead at the mid-session interval by compiling the first century of the match (116) - and his sixth of the tournament.
The first frame after the restart was the second black-ball frame of the match and it went the way of the previous one. Higgins went for a double but left it in the jaws and Yan stroked it in to cut the gap to one. While the missed double was disappointing, the key shot was the Scot going in-off when attempting to play safe off the black.
Yan knocked in the 30th century of the tournament in frame 14 - a 103 - to claw himself level once again.
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The 15th frame see-sawed both ways, with the surprise being that Higgins did not take his chance when it came his way. After knocking in a break of 50 to get back in the frame following Yan’s 55, Higgins laid an excellent snooker and potted a red off the back of it.
He needed to clear to the blue to take the frame, but with the brown on the pink spot it was not simple and he missed the blue to allow Yan to take the lead for the first time since the third frame.
Higgins left the arena after losing the 15th frame and was still muttering to himself as he returned, fuming at the events of a few minutes previous.
Time and again in his career he’s put setbacks out of his mind and he did so again to take the 16th. He took on a tough opener - with reds in the open for his opponent should he miss - but he knocked it into the middle of the pocket and pulled out a stunning break of 63 to level up.
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Yan has shown no fear throughout the tournament and he compiled a superb break of 70, which was set up by a brilliant snooker, to move within one frame of the title.
Higgins had a chance to force a decider as Yan looked a little nervy after missing a simple red.
However, Yan got a second chance and a composed break of 64 got him to the brink of victory.
Higgins kept him waiting as he picked off one snooker and went close to getting another, but Yan was able to close out the match and take the Masters title a month before his 21st birthday.
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