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History of the Kaspersky Riga Masters
The Latvian capital will host snooker’s top stars for a sixth time when the Kaspersky Riga Masters kicks off tomorrow. Here is a look back at the history of the event…
The Riga Masters was first staged in 2014 and has been hosted at the Riga Arena on each occasion. The venue is also home to professional ice hockey side Dinamo Riga and basketball outfit VEF Riga.
The inaugural running of the event saw a classic final between Mark Selby and Mark Allen. It was Northern Ireland’s Allen who raced into a 3-0 lead to move one from victory. However, Selby, who had recently been crowned World Champion for the first time, staged a trademark fightback to win 4-3.
A year later, in 2015, the Hawk soared to victory. Barry Hawkins received an interesting reception from Riga’s resident MC prior to play getting underway (see below), but that didn’t deter his focus as he dispatched Tom Ford 4-1 to take home the title.
Neil Robertson won the first of his two Riga Masters titles in 2016. Australia’s 2010 World Champion denied Michael Holt a maiden ranking title by defeating him with a clinical display to come through a 5-2 victor.
2017 produced an emotional moment for Welshman Ryan Day. He picked up the first ranking title of a professional career which began back in 1998. Day chartered an impressive path to the final, beating the likes of Barry Hawkins, Kyren Wilson, Joe Perry and Mark Williams along the way. He then overcame Scotland’s Stephen Maguire 5-2 to take home the title.
Last year Robertson was victorious for a second time at the tournament. He was pitted him against the quickfire Jack Lisowski, who was competing in his maiden ranking final. Robertson proved to be too strong and came through with a 5-2 win to claim his first silverware of the season. The Australian added further trophies at the Welsh Open and the China Open to cap a stellar campaign.