The penultimate day of the 2020 Players Championship saw the 20 years old Yan Bingtao beat former World Champion and Triple Crown winner Shaun Murphy bt 6-1.
Yan Bingtao will face Judd Trump in the Final today, over a best of 19 frames.
Yan Bingtao produced a superb display to beat Shaun Murphy 6-1 and clinch his place in the final of the Coral Players Championship in Southport.
China’s Yan has enjoyed a fine 2019/20 campaign thus far. The talented 20-year-old won his maiden ranking title at the season opening Riga Masters. Since then he has reached further semi-finals at the UK Championship, Welsh Open and Shoot Out. He will face Judd Trump tomorrow in what will be the third ranking final of his career.
The win acts as revenge for Yan, who lost out to Murphy in their most recent meeting at the Welsh Open. On that occasion he came up short 6-5, in a marathon battle which finished after midnight.
Yan is now in line to clinch an automatic qualifying place at the World Championship. Tonight’s victory edges Joe Perry out to move Yan into 16th position in the world rankings as things stand, with only the Gibraltar Open and Coral Tour Championship left before the cut-off point.
Both Yan and Murphy are assured of their places at the Tour Championship in Llandudno. Only the eight best placed players in this season’s one-year list will qualify for the finale of the Coral Series. Murphy sits in 2nd position having won titles at the China Championship and Welsh Open, while Yan occupies 6th place.
After winning a 35-minute first frame, Yan claimed the second with a fine century run of 104, before adding a third. Murphy took a scrappy frame before the mid-session to make it 3-1.
When they returned Yan re-asserted his authority and stormed to the line. Contributions of 51 and 106 put him a frame from victory. He then stole the next on the black to secure a momentous win.
Yan said: “I kept telling myself not to think about the scoreline at 5-1. I tried to play like the match had just started. I did it shot by shot and avoided being too conservative.
“I just tried to keep calm no matter what happened or however much I was feeling the pressure. I kept my rhythm and although I felt excited during the match, it was solid.
“It is scary playing Judd Trump, similar to how players might fear Ronnie O’Sullivan. I never play well against him, but I’m happy with being part of the final so just want to enjoy it.”
Murphy said: “I just had a bad night. I thought he played quite well. He had a bit of a wobble in the fourth frame, but other than that I thought he was very solid. I can only pay him credit and pay tribute to him.
“Not a lot of people are aware that after he lost to me in the semi-finals of the Welsh Open, he practised all day during the final. He practised all day after I beat him at the World Championship a couple of years ago as well. You have a lad there who is completely dedicated to the game and hungry for success.”
This win from Yan is very significant on many levels. He got “revenge” on Murphy although I’m sure there is no violent thoughts in his mind, just sporting revenge. He also climbed to the 16th place in the rankings and Crucible seedings. He is now certain to be at the Tour Championship later this month, with an good opportunity to get higher in the various ranking lists as there are only eight players in Llandudno.
Aftter Yan’s victory yesterday, Victoria, who runs the Vic Snooker Academy where Yan practises, tweeted that there are several other players in her academy who beat Yan in practice conditions, but doing it in a big match is something diffrent entirely and she’s very right. Yan’s temperament and work ethic are probably amongst the very best on the tour.
It also transpired on twitter, that in Watfort last week, Yan had been the victim of an aggression: he was mugged and his coat was stolen. He was with other Chinese lads and they were attacked by a group of white youngsters. That’s absolute awful.
He is playing Judd Trump today and will obviously be second favourite but I will be routing for him. I just hope that he doean’t get beat heavily. People underestimate how much harder it is for the young Chinese than it is for the young Brits to get through and succeed. They are far away from their families, there is the language and culture barrier, and now, with the corona virus outbreak, there is the uncertainty and the worries about when and how they will see their families again. A win from Yan today would be fantastic, and not just for him, but for all the Chinese lads.
Regarding the corona virus outbreak, I remain convinced that the reaction to this is over the top and panic is fuelled by the media. It’s obvious that this virus is extremely contagious, and it can be deadly, mainly for “fragile” subjects. But fundamentally, it’s similar to the flu, an ilness that kills dizens of thousands every year in Europe only, the diffrence being though that over the years most of us have developped a natural “resistance” to the flu, even if the flu virus mutates continually, AND that “flu” isn’t feared anymore, it’s there and we just live with it. There are now rumors that the Gibraltar Open could be cancelled too. What’s next? Playing the World Championship behind closed doors, with the players, referees and cameramen in bio suits?