Huge Masters blow for Ali Carter after UK Championship exit

Ali Carter will not compete in next month’s Masters.

The four-times ranking event winner suffered a 6-3 loss to Stephen Maguire tonight which means he is unable to qualify for the prestigious invitational event.

Traditionally the first snooker competition of the new year, The Masters is one of snooker’s biggest events comprising the world’s top 16 players.

Carter had to beat Maguire tonight to stand any fighting chance of securing a place in the 2019 tournament at London’s Alexandra Palace but defeat has ruled him out for the first time since 2014.

Ali Carter. Picture by Monique Limbos

Victory for five-times ranking event Maguire gives him a good chance of securing a place in next month’s Masters, though it is still not guaranteed at this stage as he still could be overtaken in the provisional rankings list should his rivals have a strong UK Championship run this week. 

Meanwhile, world champion Mark Williams secured a place in the last 16 with a 6-3 win over Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham.

Williams will next face Maguire for a place in the quarter-finals.

Stephen Maguire. Picture by Monique Limbos

Joe Perry, who was a Masters finalist last year, kept up his slim hopes of featuring in January’s event with a 6-2 win against Joe O’Connor.

Perry would need to reach the UK Championship final to have any chance of being involved in the Masters.

World number 59 Martin O’Donnell booked his place in the last 16 of the UK Championship for the first time after a 6-4 win against China’s Tian Pengfei.

Earlier in the day, Ronnie O’Sullivan eased through to the fourth round with a 6-0 win over Zhou Yuelong. Though his plans for a breakaway tour continued to be the main talking point after his win.

World number 11 Kyren Wilson saw off talented teenager Yan Bingtao with a 6-2 victory.

But Belgium’s Luca Brecel crashed out losing 6-4 to world number 112 Lu Ning who continued his impressive run. The defeat for Brecel ends a disappointing year on the table. 

Despite winning his first ranking event more than a year ago, Brecel has failed to reach the quarter-final stages of any World Snooker event he’s played in during 2018.

Alan McManus, who knocked out John Higgins in the last round, was unable to continue his winning ways as he fell to a 6-3 loss to Leicester based professional Tom Ford. 

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