Yesterday was the fourth day at the 2021 Masters, and it saw the conclusion of the last 16 round.
In the afternoon match, Ronnie came back from 3-0 down and 5-3 down to beat Ding Junhui by 6-5. You will find out everything about that match – the best of the round – by following this link.
The evening also went to a deciding frame, as John Higgins beat Mark Allen by 6-5. John of course had plenty of match practice, having played in three groups of the 2021 Championship League snooker last week. Mark Allen, on the other hand, hadn’t practice much ar all, as he was just recovering from covid-19. To make things even more tricky, he was playing with a new cue. He did well all things considered.
In the second frame of the matchMark Allen had a century, a 106, and that was the 600th century in the Masters.
Here is the report by WST:
Higgins Holds Off Allen
John Higgins defeated Mark Allen 6-5 to book his place in the last eight of the Betfred Masters in Milton Keynes.
Victory for Scotland’s Higgins sets up a mouth-watering last eight meeting with familiar foe Ronnie O’Sullivan. He currently trails O’Sullivan 35-28 in head-to-head meetings. It will be the 14th time Higgins has appeared in a Masters quarter-final.
This evening’s result ends a winning streak for Allen against Higgins at the Masters. Prior to tonight the Northern Irishman had beaten Higgins in all four of their previous meetings at the event.
It was two-time Masters champion Higgins who took the opening frame tonight. Allen, who lifted the Paul Hunter Trophy by winning the Masters in 2018, restored parity at 1-1 with a century run of 106. Breaks of 56 and 82 saw Higgins move 3-1 ahead at the mid-session.
A contribution of 92 allowed Allen to pull within one, before he stole the sixth on the black to level at 3-3. Momentum appeared to be with the Pistol, but Higgins stopped him in his tracks with breaks of 84 and 80 to move one from victory at 5-3.
Allen pulled within a frame at 5-4, then took a dramatic tenth. He was 35 points behind with 35 remaining, but got a snooker and cleared to force a decider.
Higgins trailed 39-3 in the last frame but compiled a superb break of 59 which proved the match-winner.
“I know there is no crowd there, but personally I felt the nerves just as much as I would at a packed Alexandra Palace. It was a great buzz to get over the line there,” said 45-year-old Higgins. “I was all over the place at the start of the last frame and expecting Mark to win, but he missed a bad brown and then gave me a chance to get in. I’m normally sitting here over the last 18 months losing games like that, so to be winning it, I am delighted.
“I’ve always had a friendly rivalry with Ronnie. I respect him an unbelievable amount. To still be playing these sort of matches, I’m over the moon. To get to the semi-finals I know I may have to play even better than tonight. I didn’t see any of his game today, but apparently he played brilliantly and Ding played well as well. I will just need to come in and play my A game.”
Today we have two quarter-finals: in the afternoon Kyren Wilson will play David Gilbert, and in the evening the defending champion Stuart Bingham will face Shaun Murphy.
Tomorrow Ronnie will face Higgins in the evening, their first match at the Masters since that 2006 final. Stephen Maguire will face Yan Bingtao in the afternoon.. That’s an interesting one because Maguire is no fan of too many safeties and prone to impatience. Yan is the opposite: he has a very strong tactical brain and all the patience in the world, but doesn’t always score heavily.