Matthew Stevens

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Matthew Stevens
Matthew Stevens PHC 2012.jpg
Matthew Stevens at the 2012 Paul Hunter Classic
Born (1977-09-11) 11 September 1977 (age 36)
Carmarthen
Sport country  Wales
Nickname The Welsh Dragon
Professional 1994–
Highest ranking 4 (2005/06)
Current ranking 19 (as of 30 March 2014)
Career winnings UK£ 2,170,367[1]
Highest break 147 (Players Tour Championship 2011/2012 – Event 12)
Century breaks 232
Tournament wins
Ranking 1
Non-ranking 6

Matthew Stevens (born 11 September 1977) is a Welsh professional snooker player.[2] Stevens has won two of the game's most prestigious events, the Benson and Hedges Masters in 2000 and the UK Championship in 2003. He has also been the runner-up in the World Snooker Championship on two occasions, in 2000 and 2005. Stevens reached a career high ranking of #4 for the 2005/2006 season, and is currently ranked inside of the elite top 16 at number 12. Stevens is known as a good breakbuilder, and has compiled over 200 competitive centuries so far during his career.[3]

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Stevens turned professional in 1994 and in his second season won the Benson & Hedges Championship to qualify for the 1996 Masters. At the Masters he beat Terry Griffiths 5–3 but lost 6–5 to Alan McManus. The following season he also showed potential by beating Stephen Hendry 5–1 in the Grand Prix. In the 1997/1998 season he reached the semi-finals of both the Grand Prix and UK Championship. He also reached the quarter-finals on his debut at the Crucible of the World Championship, beating Alain Robidoux and Mark King before losing to Ken Doherty. In 1998 he reached his first ranking final at the UK Championship, losing 10–6 to John Higgins.

2000–2005[edit]

In 2000, he won the Masters, with a 10–8 win over Ken Doherty in the final. Later that season at the World Championship he reached the first of his two World Championship finals to date. After victories over Tony Drago, Alan McManus, Jimmy White and Joe Swail he faced Mark Williams losing 16–18 after having led 10–6, 13–7 and then 14–10 with only the final session to play. Stevens became only the second player in the history of the world championship to lose in the final from holding a 4 frame overnight lead.

He has also been a beaten semi-finalist on four occasions in 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2012. In 2002 he looked certain to have won a place in the final leading Peter Ebdon 16–14 in their semi final tie, and just needed a relatively simple red in the 31st frame to leave his opponent needing snookers. Stevens missed the pot and Ebdon made a famous clearance to win the frame, and went on to take the next two to win the match 17–16.[4]

Stevens won the 2003 UK Championship beating Stephen Hendry 10–8 in the final. He trailed Hendry 0–4, but remarkably he reeled off the next five frames. Hendry found his form again to lead 7–5, but Stevens was not to be denied and clinched a 10–8 victory, which remains the only ranking tournament victory of his career.[5] However, he followed this with a run of nine successive first round defeats in best-of-nine matches, only interrupted by a run to the semi-final of the 2004 World Championship.

In 2005 he was again runner-up, losing 16–18 to Shaun Murphy in the final, having been up 10–6 and then 12–11 with only the final session to play. Again Stevens relinquished a 4 frame overnight lead to lose in the final, only the third time this had ever happened. The turning point was arguably the 22nd frame, in which Stevens had a shot at the final blue to leave Murphy needing snookers, but elected to play the shot left-handed rather than use the rest. He missed, and Murphy cleared the table to level the match at 11-11. Despite the disappointment, Stevens insisted that Murphy had simply been the better player and that he would eventually win the championship.

The following year, Stevens was beaten by Ken Doherty 13-8 in the second round, having gone into the final session level at 8-8.

2006–2010[edit]

In 2007 he lost 12–13 to Murphy in the quarter-finals of the World Championship having led 11–5 and 12–7, making him the first person to ever lose a best of 25 match from leading 12–7. The defeat left him ranked outside of the top 16 for the first time in 8 years. In 2008 he was defeated in the first round of the world championship for the first time in his career by defending champion John Higgins, and he finished ranked outside the top 16 for the second consecutive season. The only highlight of the 2008/09 season was a run to the final of the Bahrain Championship, in which the unavailability of three leading players gave him a top sixteen seeding. He only reached the last sixteen of one other event, and failed to qualify for the World Championship after a defeat to Martin Gould. He finished the season with a drop of nine places to #26.

Stevens enjoyed a solid 2009/2010 season. He qualified for the Welsh Open by beating Barry Pinches 5–4. In the first round, he caused an upset by defeating Shaun Murphy 5–4. He faced Northern Ireland's Mark Allen in round two, and despite making two century breaks he lost the match 5–2. Stevens also lost a close match 10–9 to Marcus Campbell in the 2010 World Championship qualifiers, and thus did not make it to The Crucible for the second year in succession.

2010/2011[edit]

Stevens made a promising start to the 2010/2011 season by qualifying for the Shangai Masters, beating Anda Zhang 5–2. In the first round he defeated Liang Wenbo 5–3. He caused another upset in the last 16 by beating Shaun Murphy. He played Ali Carter in the quarter-finals but lost 5–4 on the final black, despite leading 4–1.

Stevens continued his solid form by reaching the quarter-finals at the Welsh Open. He qualified by beating Anthony Hamilton 4-2. There he whitewashed number 5 seed Shaun Murphy 4-0 and in the last 16 he beat fellow Welshman and close friend Ryan Day 4-3. In the quarter-finals, Stevens was drawn against John Higgins, but was edged out 5-3. Despite these performances he still wasn't ranked in the top 16 and so had to qualify for the World Championship, where he managed to beat Fergal O'Brien 10–9 on the final black to qualify for the first time since 2008. He was eliminated by Mark Allen in the first round, losing 4 consecutive frames after leading 9-6. He then won the 2011 Championship League beating Mark Williams 3-1 in the semi-final and Shaun Murphy 3-1 in the final, to qualify for the Premier League.

His performances during the season were enough to see him return to the elite top 16 in the world rankings for the first time since 2006, meaning he would no longer need to play qualifying matches to reach the main stage of the ranking events.[6]

2011/2012[edit]

After losing in the first round of the Australian Goldfields Open to Liang Wenbo, Stevens reached the quarter-finals of the Shanghai Masters by defeating Stephen Lee and Martin Gould. However, his run was ended by compatriot Mark Williams, who whitewashed him 0–5.[7] A last 16 exit in the UK Championship to Ding Junhui followed, before Stevens reached his second ranking event quarter-final of the season in the German Masters courtesy of 5–1 victories over both Craig Steadman and Neil Robertson. He then lost to Ronnie O'Sullivan 3–5.[8]

Due to being ranked inside the top 16, Stevens played in his first Masters tournament since 2007 during the season and was beaten by John Higgins 2–6 in the first round.[9] His first Premier League campaign since 2002 saw Stevens win 3 and lose 3 of the 6 matches he played to finish 7th in the 10 man league and therefore fail to make it to the play-offs.[10] Stevens finished runner-up to O'Sullivan in Event 7 of the minor-ranking Players Tour Championship series and with last 16 finishes coming in Event 9 and Event 11, he was ranked 17th in the Order of Merit, inside the top 24 who qualified for the Finals.[11] There he played Ricky Walden in the last 24 and lost 0–5 in 50 minutes.[7]

Stevens was defeated in the second round of the Welsh Open and had successive first round losses in the World Open and China Open to go into the World Championship in less than auspicious form.[7] However, Stevens had an excellent run as he reached his sixth semi-final in the event, and first since 2005.[12] He reached the last four with wins over Marco Fu (10–3), Barry Hawkins (13–11) and Ryan Day (13–5, having won 11 consecutive frames).[7][12] He played Ronnie O'Sullivan in the semi-final and lost 10–17, meaning Stevens has not beaten his opponent in almost a decade.[13] Stevens finished the season ranked world number 10, the highest he has ended the year since 2005.[6]

2012/2013[edit]

Matthew Stevens at 2013 German Masters

Stevens withdrew from the season's opening ranking event, the Wuxi Classic due to a bad back and could not advance beyond the second round in any of the next three events.[14][15] At the UK Championship he beat Dominic Dale 6–1 and Marco Fu 6–4 to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since lifting the trophy in 2003. In a scrappy game versus Mark Davis, Stevens was beaten 4–6.[16] Stevens missed a simple brown at 4–1 up against Mark Williams in the first round of the Masters and then made a series of errors during the rest of the match to lose 4–6.[17] His second quarter-final of the season came at the German Masters, where he was defeated 3–5 by Marco Fu, before losing 2–4 to Stephen Maguire in the second round of the Welsh Open.[15]

Stevens travelled to Haikou, China, for the World Open, but his cue failed to arrive on time for his first round match against David Gilbert. However, he beat Gilbert 5–4 with a borrowed cue and Shaun Murphy 5–3 with Mark Williams' cue before his own finally arrived for his quarter-final against Judd Trump.[18] It was Trump this time who suffered cue troubles as his tip became damp during the match and Stevens took full advantage to triumph 5–3.[19] He then came back from 4–5 against Neil Robertson in the semi-finals to win 6–5 and reach his first ranking event final since the 2008 Bahrain Championship.[20] He faced Mark Allen in the final and, despite making two centuries, he was comfortably beaten 4–10.[21] Stevens' season finished in disappointment as he lost in first round of the China Open 2–5 to Rory McLeod and 7–10 to Marco Fu in the World Championship, which saw him finish the year ranked world number 14.[15][22]

Personal life[edit]

Stevens was born in Carmarthen, Wales, attended an all-Welsh-speaking school, Bro Myrddin Welsh Comprehensive School, and is fluent in the language.

In 2001 his father Morrell, who was also his manager, died unexpectedly,[23] after which he had a few uneventful seasons. Stevens and his wife Claire Holloway have two sons, Freddie and Ollie, who were born in 2004 and 2008 respectively.

Stevens was a close friend of Paul Hunter and was a pallbearer at his funeral.[24] He is also a celebrity Texas hold 'em poker player and in 2004 won the UK's richest poker tournament at just 27 years old, beating 16 time World Darts champion Phil Taylor to first place. Stevens had only been playing poker for 18 months before his victory.[25][26]

Performance and rankings timeline[edit]

Tournament 1994/
95
1995/
96
1996/
97
1997/
98
1998/
99
1999/
00
2000/
01
2001/
02
2002/
03
2003/
04
2004/
05
2005/
06
2006/
07
2007/
08
2008/
09
2009/
10
2010/
11
2011/
12
2012/
13
2013/
14
Ranking[27][nb 1] UR[nb 2] 236 67 53 26 9 6 6 8 9 6 4 14 20 17 26 25 14 10 14
Ranking tournaments
Dubai Classic[nb 3] LQ LQ LQ Not held
Malta Grand Prix Not held Non-ranking 2R NR Not held
Thailand Masters LQ LQ LQ LQ 1R QF QF SF NR Not held NR Not held
Scottish Open[nb 4] LQ LQ LQ LQ 3R QF QF 1R 2R 1R Not held MR NH
British Open LQ 1R LQ 2R 1R 1R 2R 1R 2R SF 1R Not held
Irish Masters Non-ranking event QF 1R F NH NR Not held
Malta Cup[nb 5] LQ LQ 1R NH LQ Not held 2R 2R 1R SF 1R 1R NR Not held
Northern Ireland Trophy Not held NR 2R LQ LQ Not held
Bahrain Championship Not held F Not held
Wuxi Classic[nb 6] Not held Non-ranking WD SF
Australian Goldfields Open Not held 1R 2R A
Shanghai Masters Not held QF 1R 2R QF QF 1R A
International Championship Not held 2R 3R
UK Championship LQ 2R LQ SF F F 1R QF 3R W 2R 2R 3R LQ 2R 1R 1R 2R QF 3R
German Masters[nb 7] NH LQ LQ LQ NR Not held 1R QF QF 2R
Welsh Open LQ 1R LQ 1R 3R QF 1R 2R 1R 1R 1R 2R 1R LQ 1R 2R QF 2R 2R 3R
World Open[nb 8] LQ 3R 2R SF 1R 2R 2R 2R 1R QF 1R 1R 1R RR LQ 1R 2R 1R F 2R
Players Tour Championship Finals Not held SF 1R DNQ
China Open[nb 9] Not held NR 2R 2R QF 1R Not held 1R 1R 2R 1R LQ LQ 1R 1R 1R
World Championship LQ LQ LQ QF QF F SF SF 1R SF F 2R QF 1R LQ LQ 1R SF 1R
Non-ranking tournaments
The Masters A 1R A A A W 1R 1R 1R 1R 1R 1R 1R LQ LQ LQ A 1R 1R
Premier League[nb 10] A A A A A A A RR A A A A A A A A A RR A NH
Championship League Not held RR RR A W RR RR
Masters Qualifying Event[nb 11] SF W QF 1R 2R A A A A A NH A A WD SF QF Not held
Scottish Masters A A A A LQ W QF QF 1R Not held
Northern Ireland Trophy Not held W Ranking Not held
Performance Table Legend
LQ lost in the qualifying draw #R lost in the early rounds of the tournament
(WR = Wildcard round, RR = Round robin)
QF lost in the quarter-finals
SF lost in the semi–finals F lost in the final W won the tournament
DNQ did not qualify for the tournament A did not participate in the tournament WD withdrew from the tournament
NH / Not Held means an event was not held.
NR / Non-Ranking Event means an event is/was no longer a ranking event.
R / Ranking Event means an event is/was a ranking event.
MR / Minor-Ranking Event means an event is/was a minor-ranking event.
  1. ^ From the 2010/2011 season it shows the ranking at the beginning of the season.
  2. ^ New players on the Main Tour don't have a ranking.
  3. ^ The event was called the Asian Classic (1996/1997)
  4. ^ The event was called the International Open (1996/1997-1997/1998) and the Players Championship (2003/2004)
  5. ^ The event was called the European Open (1996/1997, 2001/2002-2003/2004) and the Irish Open (1998/1999)
  6. ^ The event was called the Jiangsu Classic (2008/2009–2009/2010)
  7. ^ The event was called the German Open (1995/1996-1997/1998)
  8. ^ The event was called the Grand Prix (1996/1997-2000/2001 and 2004/2005-2009/2010 and the LG Cup (2001/2002-2003/2004)
  9. ^ The event was called the China International (1998/1999)
  10. ^ The event was called the European League (1996/1997)
  11. ^ The event was called the Benson & Hedges Championship (1993/1994-2002/2003)

Career finals[edit]

Ranking event finals: 8 (1 title, 7 runner-ups)[edit]

Legend
World Championship (0–2)
UK Championship (1–2)
Other (0–3)
Outcome No. Year Championship Opponent in the final Score
Runner-up 1. 1998 UK Championship Scotland Higgins, JohnJohn Higgins 6–10
Runner-up 2. 1999 UK Championship (2) Wales Williams, MarkMark Williams 8–10
Runner-up 3. 2000 World Snooker Championship Wales Williams, MarkMark Williams 16–18
Winner 1. 2003 UK Championship Scotland Hendry, StephenStephen Hendry 10–8
Runner-up 4. 2005 Irish Masters England O'Sullivan, RonnieRonnie O'Sullivan 8–10
Runner-up 5. 2005 World Snooker Championship (2) England Murphy, ShaunShaun Murphy 16–18
Runner-up 6. 2008 Bahrain Championship Australia Robertson, NeilNeil Robertson 7–9
Runner-up 7. 2013 World Open Northern Ireland Allen, MarkMark Allen 4–10

Non-ranking wins: (6 titles)[edit]

Team events[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Matthew Stevens". betfred.com. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "Profile on World Snooker". World Snooker Association. 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-02. 
  3. ^ "Chris Turners Snooker Archive – Top Century Makers". 2008. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  4. ^ "Brave Ebdon sinks Stevens". BBC Sport. 2002-05-04. Retrieved 2010-09-03. 
  5. ^ "Stevens clinches UK crown". BBC Sport. 2003-11-30. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  6. ^ a b "Ranking History". Snooker.org. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Matthew Stevens 2011/2012". Snooker.org. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  8. ^ "Ronnie O'Sullivan beats Matthew Stevens to reach German Masters semis". BBC Sport. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "Masters snooker: Neil Robertson & John Higgins through to quarter-finals". BBC Sport. 17 January 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "PartyCasino.com Premier League Finals". Snooker.org. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  11. ^ "Order of Merit". Snooker.org. 23 May 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "World Snooker 2012: Matthew Stevens crushes Ryan Day". BBC Sport. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  13. ^ "World Snooker 2012: Ronnie O'Sullivan beats Matthew Stevens". BBC Sport. 5 May 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  14. ^ "Stevens Withdraws From Wuxi Classic". World Snooker. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  15. ^ a b c "Matthew Stevens 2012/2013". Snooker.org. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  16. ^ "Snooker: Matthew Stevens defeat ends Welsh influence in UK Championships". Wales Online. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  17. ^ "Mark Williams beat Matthew Stevens to book his place in the Masters quarter-finals". Sky Sports. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  18. ^ "Trump makes short work of Bond to set up Stevens clash in Haikou quarter-finals". Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  19. ^ "Stevens on cue for success". Sporting Life. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  20. ^ "World Open: Matthew Stevens & Mark Allen reach China final". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  21. ^ "Mark Allen beats Matthew Stevens to retain World Open title". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  22. ^ "Snooker Rankings for the 2013/2014 Season". World Snooker. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  23. ^ "Profile on Sporting Life 2001/2002". Sporting Life. 2001/2002. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  24. ^ "Hundreds gather at Hunter funeral". BBC News / West Yorkshire. October 19, 2006. Retrieved April 20, 2007. 
  25. ^ "Snooker star wins poker's big pot". BBC News. December 13, 2004. Retrieved 2007-04-20. 
  26. ^ "Matthew Stevens: Hendon Mob Poker Database". The Hendon Mob.com. Retrieved April 20, 2007. 
  27. ^ "Ranking History". Snooker.org. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 

External links[edit]