Shaun Murphy squeezed through to the second round of the World Championship after being pushed to the limit by Chinese teenager Yan Bingtao – whose display showed why he is tipped for a great future in the game.
Despite Murphy winning 10-8, all the talk was about the 17-year-old who impressed the snooker world with his gutsy performance on his first ever appearance at the Crucible.
Trailing 9-5 against the 2005 world champion, Bingtao managed to create a thrilling ending to the first round tie by winning three frames on the spin to make it 9-8.
And Bingtao could have made it level at 9-9 however a fluke allowed Murphy to get to the winning line.
YAN BINGTAO – WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
In his debut Crucible appearance, aged 17 he pushes Shaun Murphy close in first round losing 10-8.
Becomes second youngest player to qualify for the Crucible.
In his debut season, he has beat the likes of Mark Selby (Last 32 of Welsh Open), Shaun Murphy (L64 of German Masters), Liang Wenbo (L64 of UK Championship), Mark Allen (L32 of English Open), Ali Carter (L32 of Paul Hunter Classic).
Ends first season on professional tour with prize money more than £70,000.
In 2015 he won the Snooker World Cup with Chinese star Zhou Yuelong. The gifted Chinese pair beat the likes of Wales and Australia before upsetting John Higgins and Stephen Maguire to claim the trophy for the China B team.
Bingtao had already beaten Murphy in the season in the second round of the German Masters wining a thrilling encounter 5-4. He had also beaten him in the 2015 Champion of Champions event
And after securing the tough win, Murphy heaped praise on his opponent – saying he could do ‘serious damage’ in the game in years to come.
He said: “You just know how good he is. I can’t praise him enough, his colleagues and his generation of Chinese players.
“Their commitment to pursuing a career in snooker is unbelievable, they’ve left their home countries and continent behind to come here and they play Snooker every hour that God sends and they deserve everything they get.
“I think he and his compatriots are going to do some serious damage over the years.
“Yan has got that certain something, where he’s got a bit of swagger. He actually believes he is as good as he is, and I remember one of the things that somebody said to me when I was younger, ‘If only you knew how good you are then you’d be it’.
“He knows how good he is and he’ll be around for a very long time.”
Murphy will next face Ronnie O’Sullivan who defeated Gary Wilson 10-7 on Sunday.