Riga Masters 2019 – Yan Bingtao is your Champion!


Congratulations Yan Bingtao!

Here is WPBSA report on Yan’s win

Yan Beats Joyce In Riga Final

28th July 2019



Yan Bingtao became the first teenager to win a ranking title for 13 years by beating Mark Joyce 5-2 in the final of the Kaspersky Riga Masters.

China’s 19-year-old Yan always looked in control of the final against Joyce in Latvia as he took the £50,000 top prize at the first ranking event of the season.

He becomes the third Chinese player to win a ranking title, joining Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo. Not since Ding won the Northern Ireland Open in 2006 has a player aged under 20 won a ranking event, and Yan is also the first Chinese winner of a ranking title since Ding landed the Yushan World Open in 2017.

The comparisons with Ding, now aged 32, do not stop there. Both were was tipped for the top from their early teens; Yan won the world amateur title at the age of 14, and a year later partnered Zhou Yuelong to victory for China at the World Cup.

In 2017, age 17, Yan came within a frame of eclipsing Ronnie O’Sullivan’s long-standing record as the youngest ever winner of a ranking title, but lost 9-8 to Mark Williams in the Northern Ireland Open final.

Last season, Yan seemed to take a step backwards as he failed to reach a ranking event quarter-final. But having now landed his first piece of individual silverware he has taken a huge leap forwards. It will surely be the first of many.

Yan earns a place at the ManBetX Champion of Champions in November and goes to the top of the 2019-20 one-year ranking list, and may already have earned enough to qualify for the Coral World Grand Prix in February. He climbs three places up the official world ranking list to 18th.

Walsall’s Joyce, who had never previously been beyond the quarter-finals of a ranking event, earns £25,000 and moves up from 54th to 47th.

Yan took the opening frame of the final by clearing from brown to black, then dominated the second with breaks of 48 and 38. Joyce pulled one back with a 103, before Yan made a 53 in taking the fourth to lead 3-1 at the interval.

A tight fifth frame went Joyce’s way, but Yan made a 65 in the sixth as he went 4-2 up. And a superb 66 clearance, from 45-5 behind, saw Yan seal the title.

“I’m excited because it’s the first time I have won a ranking final,” said Yan, via a translator. “I’m so happy to win the title. I was a little bit lucky. Ding is still the best Chinese player, I have to improve.

“There are a lot of teenage Chinese players getting better and better, especially those who come to play in the UK. Hopefully more of them can win titles, and of course I hope I can win a lot of ranking events. I will keep practising.

“After I lost the Northern Ireland Open final two years ago I was upset because I thought it might be my only chance to win a title. I have improved a lot since then. Tonight I thought I had an advantage because Mark had never played in a final before. I played shots one by one without hurrying, and I think that’s why I won.”

Joyce said: “The first frame was massive, I should have won it and that set me back. He was more solid on the night. The clearance he made in the last frame to win the tournament was fantastic.

“I won a pro-am tournament in Vienna over the summer and had a 147, which gave me some belief because I have made some changes to my game. I was confident coming here and I’m pleased to have reached my first final.”

Earlier in the semi-finals, Joyce edged out Kurt Maflin 5-4 with a break of 126 in the deciding frame while Yan scored a 5-3 win over Matthew Selt.

The next tournament is the International Championship in Daqing, China, which starts on August 4th.

I’m very happy for Yan. After he lost to Mark Williams, Yan seemed to have lost confidence indeed and his game suffered. Last season wasn’t great for him. It may sound ridiculous that he thought that he might never have another opportunity to win when he was only 17. It’s easy to forget that he is still only a teenager, a time in life where everything looks extreme and definitive 😉

Here are a few snippets from yesterday’s action:

MissingClip 2019 Riga Masters: Yan Bingtao – Mark Joyce (end of frame 1)

This was early in the match but a very important moment: it completely changed the minset of both players

MissingClip 2019 Riga Masters: Yan Bingtao 66 – Mark Joyce

Yan 66 dish to win the title and showing what it meant to him. He looked so calm up to the pink that his reaction took me by surprise.

MissingClip 2019 Riga Masters: Yan Bingtao – Mark Joyce (trophy ceremony)

I was surprised to see Barry Hearn in person in Riga. Miles Pearce and Jason Ferguson were both there too so I can only suppose that some commercial negotiations must have been on the agenda.

One thought on “Riga Masters 2019 – Yan Bingtao is your Champion!

  1. Yes, quite remarkable his celebrations when winning! It shows the frustration that he had been through, nodoubt having been under enormous pressure since the final he lost in 2017. Overall, it wasn’t a great standard, but in this tournament it was all about who was left standing at the end. When they have to play 22 frames in one day, it’s always going to be a tough process. Yan Bingtao did seem a bit faster than he has been, which definitely helped. He said in an interview that he feels he’s a much better player than in 2017, which is interesting since he hasn’t played better in the matches. He’s beginning to find ways to produce in the tournament situation, which is a stage all the top players need to go through.

    Mark Joyce also seems to have made a few technical changes, which explains his improved performance. Kurt Maflin did suffer from pressure, which I had thought might be only against the top players.

    As for Barry Hearn et al, they are trying very hard to keep Riga going, which is not surprising considering what has happened to some other tournaments. Despite some negative comments online about the quality of the event and the players, it looked like an excellent venue, and well-supported. The table conditions weren’t the best, but that can happen anywhere.

    It will be fascinating now to see how Yan Bingtao and the other young Chinese prodigies react to this breakthrough.

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