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Yan Stuns Maguire To Reach Semis

Debutant Yan Bingtao defeated Tour Champion Stephen Maguire 6-5 to reach the semi-finals of the Betfred Masters.

Victory sees 20-year-old Yan become the youngest Masters semi-finalist since his compatriot Ding Junhui made the last four during a run to the 2007 final at the age of 19.

Talented Chinese cueman Yan’s first clash with Maguire came as a 15-year-old in the 2015 World Cup final, when he and Zhou Yuelong defeated Maguire and John Higgins to win the event for China’s B team.

World number eight Maguire has now failed to go beyond the quarter-finals of the Masters in his last five appearances at snooker’s most prestigious invitational event. Today’s defeat was his first at the hands of Yan in four meetings in individual events on the World Snooker Tour.

Yan, who won his maiden ranking title at the Riga Masters in 2019, will face defending champion Stuart Bingham at 1pm tomorrow for a place in the final.

In the early stages of this afternoon’s encounter it was Yan who took control of proceedings to move 2-0 up. Maguire struggled to get going and spurned further opportunities in the third frame. However, Yan failed to press home his advantage and the Scot eventually took it to get his first frame on the board at 2-1. Maguire then went into the mid-session level, following a century run of 108.

Maguire took to the front for the first time in the match when they returned, before Yan fired in runs of 84 and 50 to regain his lead at 4-3.

Maguire restored parity with a sublime 137, which at the time was the highest break of the tournament so far. They traded the following two frames, as the match came down to a decider. It was Yan who stepped up with a nerveless break of 141 to take the match and the highest break from Maguire.

“I’m absolutely over the moon and really excited about the result. At the beginning I didn’t expect to get through the first round, now I am in the semi-finals. I won both matches on the deciding frame, so that is an achievement for me,” said world number 11 Yan.

“To be the youngest semi-finalist since Ding makes me proud. He is my hero and I am quite satisfied to achieved what I have at my age. I know a lot of people my age haven’t had the chance to even play in events like this. I am just trying to do the best that I can.

“I will definitely use this run as a boost to my confidence and I will put more effort on the practice table and try to do more in the future.”