2020 Masters (snooker)

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2020 Dafabet Masters
Tournament information
Dates12–19 January 2020
VenueAlexandra Palace
CityLondon
CountryEngland
Organisation(s)WPBSA
FormatNon-ranking event
Total prize fund£725,000
Winner's share£250,000
Highest break David Gilbert (ENG) (144)
Final
Champion Stuart Bingham (ENG)
Runner-up Ali Carter (ENG)
Score10–8
2019

The 2020 Masters (also referred to as the 2020 Dafabet Masters due to sponsorship) was a professional non-ranking snooker tournament that took place from 12 to 19 January 2020 at the Alexandra Palace in London, England. It was the 46th staging of the Masters tournament, which was first held in 1975, and the second of three Triple Crown events in the 2019–20 season, following the 2019 UK Championship and preceding the 2020 World Snooker Championship. The event featured the top 16 players from the snooker world rankings in a single-elimination tournament. It was organised by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association and was broadcast by the BBC and Eurosport in Europe.

The defending champion was Judd Trump who defeated Ronnie O'Sullivan 10–4 in the final of the previous year's event. In defence, Trump lost to Shaun Murphy 3–6 in the first round. O'Sullivan was eligible to compete in the event, but chose not to participate, with his entry being given to Ali Carter. Carter reached the final and played Stuart Bingham. Bingham won the final 10–8, recovering from 5–7 behind to win his first title. Bingham became the oldest winner of the Masters at 43 years, beating the previous record set by Ray Reardon in 1976.

In winning the event, Bingham won £250,000 from a total prize pool of £725,000. The tournament featured a total of 18 century breaks; the highest break was a 144 compiled by David Gilbert in the quarter-finals, for which he won £15,000.

Overview[edit]

Picture of a crowd behind a snooker table
The setup of Alexandra Palace during the event

The Masters is an invitational tournament that was first held in 1975, with the top-16 players from the snooker world rankings being asked to participate.[1][2] The 2020 Masters is the second Triple Crown event of the 2019–20 snooker season, following the 2019 UK Championship and preceding the 2020 World Snooker Championship.[3] The event is being held between 12 and 19 January 2020.[4] The defending champion Judd Trump, who won the 2019 Masters, was seeded first for the event and the remaining places were allocated according to the world rankings after the UK Championship in December 2019. Seven-time Masters champion and 2019 runner-up Ronnie O'Sullivan, ranked third, chose not to enter the tournament; his place was awarded to Ali Carter who was ranked 17th prior to the event.[5] O'Sullivan was reported to have pulled out due to "personal reasons" by World Snooker,[6] but he later commented that the reason given was a "mistake" and that he had not wished to take part.[5][7] David Gilbert made his Masters debut at the event.[8]

The draw for the tournament was held during the final of the 2019 UK Championship.[9] As in previous years, the top eight seeds were allocated fixed positions in the draw.[9] All matches are played as best-of-11-frames matches, with the exception of the final which will be played over a maximum of 19 frames.[10] Shortly before the event, organisers World Snooker were re-branded as the World Snooker Tour. In addition to this change, the Triple Crown was renamed the Triple Crown Series, with players who had won all three tournaments wearing a crown on their playing waistcoats.[11] The 2020 Masters was the first event to feature the change in branding.[12] The tournament is sponsored by sports betting company Dafabet.[13]

Prize fund[edit]

The prize fund for the event is £725,000, with the winner receiving £250,000.[4] This was an increase from £600,000 total prize fund and £200,000 for the winner the previous year.[9][14]

  • Winner: £250,000
  • Runner-up: £100,000
  • Semi-finals: £60,000
  • Quarter-finals: £30,000
  • Last 16: £15,000
  • Highest break: £15,000
  • Total: £725,000

Tournament summary[edit]

First round[edit]

Joe Perry won the opening match of the tournament, defeating UK Championship winner Ding Junhui

The Masters began on 12 January 2020 with first round matches played as best-of-11-frames. The 2019 UK champion and eighth seed Ding Junhui took on 15th seed Joe Perry in the opening match. Perry had not played in the event the prior two years, his last appearance reaching the final in 2017, whilst Ding had won only three matches since winning the event in 2011.[15] Perry took the opening frame, before Ding made the first century break of the event, completing a break of 135 in the second frame. Perry took frame three before Ding tied the match at 2–2 at the interval.[16] Perry then led 3–2 again before Ding equalised at 3–3. Perry scored a break of 93 in frame seven to lead 4–3. Ding, on a break of 41, and being likely to win the frame, broke down allowing Perry to take a 5–3 lead.[16] Perry won frame nine to win the match.[15] Perry commented post-match that "the interval came at the right time" for him as his performance improved in the second half.[16]

Three-time Masters champion and fourth seed Mark Selby played lowest seed Ali Carter in the second first round match. Carter, ranked 17th in the world, qualified for the event after the withdrawal of world number three Ronnie O'Sullivan.[17] Carter won the first frame after escaping from a snooker with a fluke shot, potting a red ball when 8–51 behind. Carter also won frame two, despite requiring two snookers, and was leading 3–1 at the interval.[18] Selby won the next three frames to lead the match for the first time, including a break of 94 in frame six.[18] Carter then took the next three frames, with breaks of 63 and 68 in the last two, to win the match 6–4.[18]

The 2012 Masters champion Neil Robertson played UK Championship runner-up Stephen Maguire. Robertson won the first four frames to lead 4–0 at the interval, and later led 5–1,[19] before Maguire won frame seven with a break of 105.[20] During this frame, Maguire hit a shot that BBC commentator Steve Davis called "the most amazing shot in the history of snooker"; he attempted to pot a red ball into the bottom right pocket, but struck the red with such force that the cue ball leapt into the air, while the red hit the back of the pocket, also leapt into the air and then landed back on the table. However, the red ball had so much backspin that it continued moving and rolled into the pocket. At the same time, the cue ball jumped the pack of reds and hit the knuckle of the right middle pocket before rolling up the table and go in-off in the top right pocket.[21] Robertson led 56–0 in frame eight, but Maguire capitalised on missed shots to win the frame.[19] Maguire took the next two frames to lead to a deciding frame.[20] Robertson gained the first chance in the final frame, but missed a black ball shot, allowing Maguire to make a break of 62 to win the match. Post-match, Maguire was informed that at the interval after the first four frames, bookmakers had made him 25:1 against winning the match.[20]

Shaun Murphy, seeded ninth defeated defending champion Judd Trump 6–3

Debutant David Gilbert played 2018 Masters champion Mark Allen. Gilbert won the first frame with a break of 77, and the second with a break of 121.[20] In frame three, Allen led 59–12, before Gilbert cleared the table with a break of 58 to win the frame, and went into the interval leading 4–0.[20] Allen won frame 5, before Gilbert won the next two frames – including a break of 95 – to win the match.[20] Gilbert commented that the performance was "probably the best [he'd] ever played".[20] Gilbert missed only eight pots during the entire match.[20] Defending champion Judd Trump met 2015 champion Shaun Murphy in the first round. Trump made three century breaks in the first five frames to lead 3–2.[22] Trump's third was his 678th, which took him into third – above Neil Robertson – highest career century breaks.[22] However, Murphy won the next four frames in a row to win the match 6–3.[22] Trump later commented that the 6–3 scoreline was "flattering" for Murphy.[22][23] Two-time champion John Higgins played Barry Hawkins, with Higgins winning the first five frames of the match. Hawkins won frame six, with a century break, before Higgins won frame seven to win 6–1.[22][24] Seeded fourth, Higgins was the first highest ranked player to win their opening round match.[25]

The final day of the first round – 15 January – saw 2018 runner-up Kyren Wilson play Jack Lisowski, and two-time winner Mark Williams against Stuart Bingham. Lisowski won both of the opening two frames in the prior match, before Wilson won six frames in-a-row to win 6–2.[26] Wilson later commented that Lisowski was "flawless for two frames", but O'Sullivan commenting for Eurosport commented regarding Lisowski; "to lose six frames on the bounce, you can't do that. There's something seriously wrong in your game".[27] During frame five of the match referee Ben Williams was stung by a wasp when attempting to remove it from the table.[26] The second match was tied 2–2 at the interval, but Bingham won four straight frames with breaks of 50, 76, 86 and 54 to defeat Williams 6–2.[25]

Quarter-finals[edit]

David Gilbert played in the event for the first time, and reached the semi-final, defeating Stephen Maguire

The quarter-finals were played on 16 and 17 January.[28] Shaun Murphy played Joe Perry in the first quarter-final, where Murphy won three of the first four frames making three breaks of 50 or more.[28][29] Perry won frame five, whilst Murphy won frame six to lead 4–2. Perry, on a break of 50, looked likely to win frame seven, but missed a red, allowing Murphy to clearance the table to lead 5–2 and win the match in frame eight.[28] Ali Carter played John Higgins, with Carter opening a 4–1 lead. Higgins won frame six with a break of 140, and then frame seven with a 73.[28] At 4–3, Carter played a roll-up to the yellow ball, which was called as a foul by referee Desislava Bozhilova deeming the shot had not made contact with the ball.[30] Carter, however believed that the balls had made contact, and the referee changed the decision.[28] Video replays of the event showed that the balls did not make contact.[30] Carter won the frame, and later frame nine to win the match 6–3.[30]

David Gilbert played Stephen Maguire in the third quarter-final. Gilbert won the first frame with the highest break of the tournament, a 144.[31] Gilbert also won frame two, before a break of 91 to lead 3–0. Maguire won frame four, before Gilbert won the next by a single point, and then frame six by 66–54.[31] Maguire won frame seven with a break of 94, making a foul on the shot for 101.[31] Gilbert won the match in the next frame to win 6–2.[31] The final quarter-final featured Kyren Wilson and Stuart Bingham. Wilson won frame one with a 139 total clearance, and he later led 4–1. Bingham won frame six with a double on the black ball, and won the next two to level the match 4–4.[31][32] Bingham won the next two frames – five in a row – to win the match 6–4.[31][32][33]

Semi-finals[edit]

World number 17 Ali Carter reached the final of the event for the first time, defeating Shaun Murphy 6–3

The semi-finals were played on 18 January. The sole remaining previous winner of the event Shaun Murphy played world number 17 Ali Carter. The first frame featured a break of 68 from Carter, which he later won after some safety play.[34] Carter won the second frame, before Murphy won the third with a break of 105, but Carter won the fourth frame to lead 3–1.[34][35] Murphy scored his second century in the match in frame five – a 110. Murphy was on course to make another century in frame six, but broke down on 56, allowing Carter to lead 4–2. Carter looked likely to lead 5–2, requiring three shots to win frame seven, but missed a shot on the brown ball, which Murphy won.[34] Leading by 30 with 35 points remaining, Carter declined to pot a blue ball worth five points, playing a snooker instead. Murphy escaped the snooker, and laid a snooker of his own. Escaping this snooker, Carter fluked the shot allowing him to win the frame.[34] Carter won frame nine to win the match with a break of 97.[36][35]

The second semi-final was between David Gilbert and Stuart Bingham. Having met in professional play on ten occasions, Gilbert had never defeated Bingham.[37] Bingham won the first three frames with a break of 94 in the first, before Gilbert won frame four.[38] Bingham won the next two frames to lead 5–1, including a break of 75.[38] Gilbert won frame seven, before Bingham won the eighth to win 6–2. The frame ball shot on the red rattled in the bottom right corner, before being fluked into the left corner pocket.[38]

Final[edit]

Bingham playing a shot with a rest
Stuart Bingham won the event for the first time. He became the oldest winner of the event, at 43.

The final was played between Ali Carter and Stuart Bingham as a best-of-19 frames match, played over two sessions.[39] Both players were from Essex and had a competitive head-to-head record of eight wins each,[39] whilst neither player having ever reached the final of the Masters previously.[40] Being ranked 17th in the world, Carter was the first player since Ronnie O'Sullivan in 2014 to reach the final while ranked outside of the world's top-16.[41] The match was refereed by Brendan Moore.[42] The winner of the match received the Paul Hunter trophy.[40]

The first session began at 1 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time.[43] Carter won the first frame with a break of 126.[43] In the next two frames, Bingham won, after misses from Carter to lead 2–1.[43] In frame four, Carter attempted a maximum break, potting seven red and black balls, but only scored 56. Bingham was only able to score 23, before Carter won the frame to tie the match 2–2.[43] Carter won frame five, despite a brief delay caused by a 'whoopee cushion' device being set off in the crowd.[44][45] Bingham took the next three frames, however to take a 5–3 lead into the second session.[44]

Carter won the first two frames on the resumption of the match to tie the match at 5-5. He then won frame 11 with a break of 95 and frame 12 with a break of 135.[46] Rejoining after the final interval, Bingham won the next two frames to tie the match at 7-7, and frames 15 and 16 to lead 9-7 following four breaks over 50.[46] With Bingham one frame away from victory, Carter won frame 17 with a break of 77.[43][46] However, Bingham won the next frame to win the match 10-8. Bingham won the final frame with his only century break of the event a 109.[46] At the age of 43, Bingham became the oldest winner of the event, being five months older than the previous oldest - Ray Reardon in 1976.[44]

Tournament draw[edit]

Below is the results from the event. Players in bold denote match winners.[2][47][48]

First round
Best of 11 frames
Quarter-finals
Best of 11 frames
Semi-finals
Best of 11 frames
Final
Best of 19 frames
            
1  Judd Trump (ENG) 3
9  Shaun Murphy (ENG) 6
9 England Shaun Murphy 6
15 England Joe Perry 3
8  Ding Junhui (CHN) 3
15  Joe Perry (ENG) 6
9 England Shaun Murphy 3
16 England Ali Carter 6
5  Mark Selby (ENG) 4
16  Ali Carter (ENG) 6
16 England Ali Carter 6
4 Scotland John Higgins 3
4  John Higgins (SCO) 6
10  Barry Hawkins (ENG) 1
16 England Ali Carter 8
12 England Stuart Bingham 10
3  Neil Robertson (AUS) 5
14  Stephen Maguire (SCO) 6
14 Scotland Stephen Maguire 2
11 England David Gilbert 6
6  Mark Allen (NIR) 1
11  David Gilbert (ENG) 6
11 England David Gilbert 2
12 England Stuart Bingham 6
7  Kyren Wilson (ENG) 6
13  Jack Lisowski (ENG) 2
7 England Kyren Wilson 4
12 England Stuart Bingham 6
2  Mark Williams (WAL) 2
12  Stuart Bingham (ENG) 6

Final[edit]

Final: Best of 19 frames. Referee: England Brendan Moore.
Alexandra Palace, London, England, 19 January 2020.
Ali Carter (16)
 England
8–10 Stuart Bingham (12)
 England
Afternoon: 126–8 (126), 5–122 (75), 56–78, 73–23 (56), 94–0 (93), 69–81 (66), 5–96 (50), 45–67
Evening: 87–4, 75–22, 95–37 (95), 134–0 (133), 8–71 (64), 0–85 (85), 26–63 (58), 0–88 (88), 77–3 (77), 1–109 (109)
133 Highest break 109
2 Century breaks 1
6 50+ breaks 8

Century breaks[edit]

A total of 18 century breaks were made during the tournament.[49] Neil Robertson pledged to pay £100 for every century plus £5,000 towards New South Wales wildlife charity WIRES due to the 2019–20 Australian bushfires.[19] World Snooker indicated that they would donate the same amount.[19]

Broadcasting[edit]

The tournament was broadcast live in the United Kingdom by BBC Sport, as well as on Eurosport in Europe.[50] Worldwide, the event was covered by China Central Television and Superstars Online in China and Sky Sports in New Zealand.[50] NowTV simulcasted the event in Hong Kong with additional commentary, with DAZN covering the event across Canada, Brazil and the United States.[50]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]