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Shanghai Masters Set For Celebration

Shanghai ten yearsThe Shanghai Masters will be staged for the tenth time next month.

The world ranking event was first held in 2007 and is the second longest running tournament in China, after the China Open. The beautiful city of Shanghai has become a popular destination for players and fans and the tournament is always keenly anticipated.

This year there will be plenty of celebration around the tournament. And to get the ball rolling let’s take a look back at the history of the Shanghai Masters by remembering the nine previous finals, which have produced nine different winners…

Dominic Dale 10-6 Ryan Day
This match is probably best remembered for three things: Dale’s pink shirt, peroxide blonde hair and rendition of Frank Sinatra’s My Way after the final. But let’s not forget that the Spaceman played some stellar snooker during the inaugural Shanghai Masters. He beat the likes of Ken Doherty and Mark Selby to set up an all-Welsh final against friend Day. Dale trailed 6-2 but stormed back to win eight frames in a row, with a top break of 143, for a 10-6 victory. That gave him his second ranking title, a decade after his first. “I never dreamed that I could have produced a comeback like that,” said Dale. “It’s all a bit of a blur. I’m here ten years after winning my first title and it means so much to me. I’m still competing with the best players. I can’t wait for 2017 now!” Anyway enough about the match, just watch this:

Ricky Walden 10-8 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Stephen Hendry, Neil Robertson, Steve Davis, Mark Selby, Ronnie O’Sullivan. That might look like a list of snooker greats past and present, but in fact it’s the sequence of players Ricky Walden had to beat to triumph in Shanghai in 2008. In getting the better of that mighty quintet, Walden made his major breakthrough by winning his first ranking title. O’Sullivan was the man in form having won the previous two ranking events and he led 5-4 after the opening session, but he couldn’t pull away and Walden finished strongly, making a break of 105 in the 18th frame to secure the title. “I am thrilled to bits to win my first tournament,” said Walden. “The first thing I’m going to do now is go on holiday to Las Vegas with my mates and celebrate.”


This year's Shanghai Masters will run from September 19-25

This year’s Shanghai Masters will run from September 19-25

Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-5 Liang Wenbo
O’Sullivan made up for his 2008 defeat by getting his hands on the trophy a year later. Like Walden, he had a tough route to the final, but knocked out Graeme Dott, Marco Fu and Ding Junhui then played brilliantly in a 6-1 semi-final thumping of John Higgins. Against home favourite Liang, who was playing in his first ranking final, O’Sullivan built a 6-2 lead and nursed home his advantage to win 10-5. “I was only able to play flamboyant snooker in two or three frames. The rest of it was steady, hard, match snooker and I needed patience,” said the Rocket.
Ali Carter 10-7 Jamie Burnett
Scotland’s Burnett enjoyed an impressive run to reach the first ranking event of his career, albeit helped by a first round bye when O’Sullivan withdrew. Carter knocked out the likes of Stuart Bingham and Mark Selby and scored a dramatic 5-4 quarter-final win over Matthew Stevens thanks to an amazing final black in the deciding frame, potted along the length of the side cushion. The final was a scrappy and nervy affair, and Carter never led by more than two frames until he pulled away from 8-7 to win 10-7. “It wasn’t the best match, but those are the ones where winning is what matters,” said The Captain after claiming his second ranking title.

Mark Selby 10-9 Mark Williams
A thrilling final, perhaps best remembered for a controversial incident in the 17th frame, when Williams led 9-7. The Welshman felt that Selby had hit the pink when escaping from a snooker, but after studying a video replay, referee Eirian Williams judged that he had hit a red first, a decision which was later proved correct. That was the turning point as Selby won the frame and added the next two as Williams uncharacteristically lost his cool. “It was very difficult for the referee to see which ball I hit first. Mark felt I hit the pink and I wasn’t sure,” said Selby after landing his second ranking title. In the heat of the moment after the final, Williams japed: “We should get Stevie Wonder to referee next time” – a comment for which he subsequently apologised.

John Higgins 10-9 Judd Trump
Another epic content between two of snooker’s big beasts, and another dramatic conclusion. Trump made a blistering start, going 5-0 up with two centuries and three more breaks over 50. Higgins responded with a 147 – the sixth maximum of his career – but still trailed 7-2 after the first session. Then Higgins reeled off six in a row to lead 8-7. Trump recovered to 9-9 and had first chance in the decider but could only make 36, and had to sit in his chair as Higgins crashed in a do-or-die long red to initiate a match-winning 61. “To beat Judd from 7-2 down is unbelievable, I can’t explain how it feels because I’m shell-shocked,” said Higgins. “To beat Judd when he was playing that well must be one of my best wins ever.”

Ding Junhui and Xiao Guodong2013
Ding Junhui 10-6 Xiao Guodong.
This was a historic moment for snooker – and the rising influence of Asia – as it was the first ever ranking event final between two Chinese players. It also marked the first victory of an astonishing 2013/14 campaign for Ding as he went on to win three ranking titles in a row and five in total during the season – equalling two records set by Stephen Hendry in the 1990s. Xiao was playing in his first final and looked in the mix at 3-3, but Ding pulled away to lead 9-4 and eventually sealed the match in frame 16. “I had to let my emotions go after winning the tournament. This showed how much I wanted this title, I wanted it more than anybody,” said Ding. “There will be many more chances for the players from China. The young generation is growing up quickly so their days will come soon.”

Stuart Bingham 10-3 Mark Allen
Chesney Hawkes was the unofficial nickname given to Bingham by Mark Williams prior the 2014 Shanghai Masters. Bingham won his first ranking title in 2011 when he beat Williams in the Australian Goldfields Open final, and three years later he remained a one hit wonder, hence the nickname. Then Bingham played some top class snooker to double his titles tally, notably beating Ding 6-4 in the semis and thrashing Allen in the final. “Knowing that you can win a title brings different pressures and I have knocked on the door a few times since. So I’m delighted to win another and it means Mark can’t call me Chesney any more,” said Bingham, who would go on to prove beyond doubt his place at the top table by becoming World Champion later in the season.


Kyren Wilson 10-9 Judd Trump

Wilson’s first spell on the pro tour in 2010/11 lasted just one season and it took him two years to regain his card. He enjoyed more success the second time around but was barely mentioned as one to watch and, this time last year, was 54th in the world and had never been past the quarter-finals of a ranking event. Then everything fell into place for one glorious week for the player nicknamed The Warrior. Ding Junhui and Mark Allen were among those he knocked out to reach the final, where he beat Trump 10-9 in an exciting finish. Wilson let slip leads of 8-4 and 9-7 but kept his composure in an excellent break of 75 in the decider. “It’s every player’s dream to win his first ranking title. It will always stay in my memory. This is my breakthrough, just like Judd had his when he won the 2011 China Open,” said Wilson, who has since climbed into the top 16 and looks destined to win many more titles.