2020 European Masters – Day 4

Day 4 at the 2020 European Masters belonged to the rookies! Peter Devlin beat Mark Williams in the afternoon, and Aaron Hill beat Ronnie in the evening. Both matches went to a deciding frame.

And in the evening session, Mark Allen almost made history …

Here are the reports by WST…

Afternoon session

Tour rookie Peter Devlin scored the biggest victory of his fledgling career, winning a 5-4 thriller against three-time World Champion Mark Williams at the BetVictor European Masters.

Former English under-21 champion Devlin battled his way through Q School last month, beating John Astley in the final round to earn professional status.

The Londoner showed exactly what he is capable of today, with a sensational break in the deciding frame. Devlin had already produced some impressive snooker to move into a 4-1 advantage, only for Welshman Williams to peg him back to 4-4.

Devlin showed no signs of nerves in clinching the momentous victory, firing in his first ever century as a professional, a run of 102, to win 5-4.

“What a time to make a century, in a deciding frame, against someone like that, on a TV table. It is unbelievable,” said 24-year-old Devlin. “It was great to be able to play someone like that so early on. I said from the start I wanted to be chucked in at the deep end. I like cameras, I like getting involved in the whole World Snooker Tour. I don’t want to be on the backstage, I want to enjoy it. I want to make my parents proud. It was amazing.”

Scotland’s Stephen Maguire battled back from 3-1 down to beat James Cahill 5-3, while three-time World Champion Mark Selby eased to a 5-0 demolition of Chinese teenager Gao Yang.

Matthew Stevens thrashed Xiao Guodong 5-1 to reach the last 32. He’ll face either Ronnie O’Sullivan or Aaron Hill up next.

Evening session

European Under-21 champion Aaron Hill summoned a sublime performance to stun World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and claim a momentous 5-4 victory at the BetVictor European Masters in Milton Keynes.

Tour rookie Hill booked his place in the second round with a 5-2 defeat of former Crucible semi-finalist Andy Hicks. The 18-year-old made his televised debut at last season’s Shoot Out, beating Kyren Wilson on a run to the last 32.

Irishman Hill got off to a dream start this evening, making a break of 73 to claim the opener, before taking the second to establish a 2-0 cushion.

O’Sullivan, competing in his first event since becoming World Champion for the sixth time, got a frame on the board courtesy of runs of 49 and 36. However, it was Hill who took the fourth to lead 3-1 at the mid-session.

When they returned, O’Sullivan upped his game as breaks of 64, 58 and 102 saw him take the lead at 4-3. However, his teenage counterpart refused to wilt, taking the match to a decider. Hill kept his cool and secured victory with a nerveless contribution of 78. He’ll face Matthew Stevens in the next round.

Afterwards Hill admitted to being motivated by O’Sullivan’s comments about the lack of young talent on the circuit, which he made during the World Championship last month.

Hill said: “That comment was in the back of my head, but I didn’t worry about it. I just said to myself when he said it, that one day I am going to show him what I can do. I think today was the day.

“I’m speechless at the moment. I didn’t just go out there and be happy to be there. I still wanted to win the match. If I’d lost after being 3-1 up, I’d have been disappointed. I am just so pleased with that victory. Everyone back home, my family and my friends must be buzzing. I just looked at my phone and I think it is going to take until Christmas to reply to everyone.”

Mark Allen produced a record equalling blitz of centuries as he stormed to a 5-0 defeat of Ken Doherty.

Northern Ireland’s Allen opened up the match with four century breaks, equalling the record for most in a row. He now jointly holds that accolade with John Higgins, Shaun Murphy, Neil Robertson, Gary Wilson and Stephen Maguire.

The devastating burst was compiled with breaks of 134, 101, 141 and 145. Allen had an opportunity to go for the record in the fifth frame, but broke down on a break of 46 after failing to get on a red after going into the pack. However, he still saw himself over the line to seal a quickfire victory.

Allen said: “I had it in my head nobody had done five. I knew when I got to 30 and 40, I had one big shot to play. I potted a decent pink to split the last four reds and it landed horribly. I went for a really tough plant which I wouldn’t have taken on had it been 2-2, but I had to go for history.

“I felt like I had the cue ball exactly where I wanted it to be throughout the whole match. I only really missed one or two shots. I don’t think I missed anything that I should have got. All in all, it was a really good performance.”

Barry Hawkins put on an electric display to thrash Jordan Brown 5-1. Breaks of 68, 50, 105, 113 and 62 saw the Hawk soar to victory. He’ll face China’s Pang Junxu up next.

Defending champion Neil Robertson progressed with a 5-2 win over Riley Parsons, while Shaun Murphy earned a hard fought 5-3 victory against Alan McManus.

It’s a great thing to see two young players doing so well in the very early stages of their career.  I’m not sure when was the last time that none of John Higgins, Mark Williams and Ronnie  manage to reach the last 32 round of an event they all entered.

You can read more about Ronnie’s match here