Ali Carter won his Masters first round tie against Mark Selby after a 6-4 victory over the three-time champion on Sunday’s opening day in London.
With the top 16 usually invited to play at the Alexandra Palace, the “Captain” wasn’t even supposed to be in the draw this year after finishing 17th in the world rankings after the UK Championship cut-off point.
However, seven-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan’s decision against participating meant that an extra slot became available and Carter has so far taken full advantage of his unexpected opportunity.
Selby, after capturing a brace of Home Nations titles earlier this term, had been many people’s tips for glory this week in the English capital city.
A drab beginning, though, saw three out of the first four scrappy frames go to his opponent as Carter established a 3-1 mid-session interval advantage.
It appeared as if Selby had turned things around when he pinched the fifth frame with a 74 clearance before adding runs of 56 and 94 to lead 4-3.
But Carter subsequently discovered his scoring potential as well and reeled off contributions of 82, 63, and 68 to move beyond the Masters first round for only the third time in his career.
In fact, this victory is only Carter’s third overall in thirteen appearances in the sport’s most prestigious invitational event.
The 40 year-old will seek to reach the semi-finals for the first time when he faces either John Higgins or Barry Hawkins in the quarter-finals.
🗣 “It did fire me up, big time”
Mark Selby fist pumped tonight.
It spurred @TheCaptain147 on to a 6-4 first round win #DafabetMasters pic.twitter.com/5AF1cEe1qS
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) January 13, 2020
Earlier in the day, there was another big upset as UK champion Ding Junhui succumbed in a 6-3 defeat to Joe Perry.
On Monday, the Masters first round will continue with another pair of high-profile clashes.
Neil Robertson and Stephen Maguire encounter each other in the Masters for a fourth time with all of their previous fixtures resulting in victories for the Scot.
In the evening session, David Gilbert will make his Masters debut at the age of 38 when he takes on 2018 champion Mark Allen.