ALI CARTER is back among snooker’s elite after he clinched his first major title in more than three years by winning the World Open.
The Essex potter, 37, is now back inside the top 16 rankings after he beat fellow Englishman Joe Perry 10-8 to land the £90,000 prize – his fourth major ranking title in his career and first since lifting the German Masters in 2013.
It was Carter’s first major trophy since returning to the game after being given the all clear from lun cancer following months of chemotherapy treatment. He did win the Paul Hunter Classic last August but that time it was classed as a ‘minor’ ranking event in the snooker calendar.
Carter came back from 3-2 down to win four frames on the bounce to a valuable 6-3 lead at the halfway stage.
And Carter, who has also been World Championship runner-up on two occasions, strengthened his position at the start of the second session, winning the first two frames to go 8-3 ahead against Perry.
However the Cambridge based potter, looking to clinch his second major ranking title, fought back winning the next two frames to go to the mid-session interval trailing 8-5.
Carter then closed in on glory after the restart winning the 14th frame to be within one frame of victory but Perry ensured a gripping finale would be in store after he won the next free frames to put huge pressure on Carter with him leading 9-8.
But Carter held his nerve just when he needed to and won the match in style with a break of 127.
Carter’s victory also guaranteed him a place in November’s Champion of Champions. He joins Neil Robertson and Anthony McGill to have clinched silverware in the 2016/17 campaign after the Australian and Scotsman won the Riga Masters and Indian Open respectively.
The return of the World Open, which was last held more than two years ago, also saw impressive performances from Neil Robertson and Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh who both made the semi-finals.
But several of snooker’s big guns such as reigning world champion Mark Selby, Stuart Bingham, Ding Junhui and Judd Trump suffered early exits.
Ali Carter’s Route to World Open Glory
R1 – beat Mike DUNN 5-3
R2 – beat Stuart BINGHAM 5-3
R3 – beat Daniel WELLS 5-4
QF – beat John HIGGINS 5-0
SF – beat Thepchaiya UN-NOOH 6-1
Final – beat Joe PERRY 10-8