Chinese teenager Yan Bingtao remains on course to become snooker’s youngest ever winner of a ranking event
The 17-year-old started the week causing a huge shock by thrashing Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-1 and today beat another legend in John Higgins in convincing style to reach the semi-finals of the International Championship.
Bingtao beat the four times world champion 6-2 on Thursday to reach his first ever ranking semi-final.
He now stands just two wins away from winning a major ranking event at the age of 17 and becoming the youngest ever snooker champion taking over from O’Sullivan’s UK Championship win in 1993 as a 17-year-old.
And nobody can say he does not deserve it following a sublime performance against a man who is back playing right at the top of the sport.
Bingtao stormed into a 3-0 lead with top breaks of 52 and 99 before Higgins pulled a frame back.
After the interval Bingtao made a superb 123 to go 4-1 ahead. Higgins got the better of frame six but there would be no fight back from the Scot as his teenage opponent won the seventh frame and then sealed victory in the eighth with a run of 89.
After the match he said: “I’ll stay calm and not think about winning the title just yet. I wanted to get to my first semi-final, so the pressure came from there. It doesn’t really matter who I play next, the key is to bring my best to the match table.”
Next up for Bingtao will be world number 10 Mark Allen who came through an enthralling encounter against Judd Trump which went all the way.
Northern Ireland’s Allen led 3-1 with a top break of 117 then Trump made 89 and 58 in getting back to 3-3.
The next two were shared to make for a pulsating finale to the quarter-final clash. Then Allen made a superb 60 clearance to take the ninth from 59-0 down only for Trump to make a magnificent response with a break of 110 to set up the decider.
And a gripping contest came down to the last few balls. Allen cleared from the last red to pink to clinch victory – the key shot coming when he potted the green and nudged the blue off the side cushion.
The semi-final between Yan Bingtao and Mark Allen will be played on Saturday in a best-of-seventeen match..