Yan Bingtao says he wants to play Ronnie O’Sullivan in the semi-finals of the Champion of Champions after emerging from his quarter of the draw on Wednesday.
The 21 year-old from China secured two brilliant victories at the prestigious invitational in Bolton to reach the last four for the first time in his career.
Yan, the reigning Masters champion, first outplayed Shaun Murphy with breaks of 96, 88, and 78 in the first round, and then subsequently outperformed the other 2021 World Championship finalist in the evening session, eclipsing May’s Crucible champion Mark Selby with a 6-3 scoreline.
The world number one had earlier survived a tight battle with David Gilbert in a deciding frame, but there was no doubting the fact that he wasn’t firing on all cylinders and Yan duly took advantage.
Leading 4-2, Selby finally put the pressure on with his first century of the match, but the young challenger responded with a magnificent 140 total clearance and wrapped up the victory with a contribution of 78.
“I feel very good. I’m very surprised to win by three tonight,” Yan Bingtao said in his post-match interview after sealing his berth in the semi-finals of the Cazoo Champion of Champions.
“I think every time I play Mark Selby it will be a very difficult match, because he has very good safety and very good control, but tonight I played well.”
“At 4-2 up, he had a break of 132 to get back to 4-3. It gave me very big pressure but I just thought it’s okay, because the match wasn’t over and I was ready to concentrate on the next ball.
“I don’t care who I play – I just want to enjoy the match – but I think I’d like to play Ronnie in the semi-finals, because every time I play Ronnie O’Sullivan it’s very, very different.”
The outcome of O’Sullivan’s quarter of the draw – otherwise known as Group 3 – will be determined on Thursday with the final spot in the last four up for grabs.
The Rocket, three times a Champion of Champions, faces Stuart Bingham in a repeat of the 2013 final, with the winner to meet either John Higgins or Ding Junhui.
Live coverage of the Champion of Champions is available on ITV4 in Ireland and the UK, with other options on offer for broadcasts around the world.
|Group 1 (Monday)||Group 4 (Tuesday)|
|Semi-Finalist: JUDD TRUMP||TOP HALF||Semi-Finalist: KYREN WILSON|
|Group 3 (Thursday)||Group 2 (Wednesday)|
|Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Stuart Bingham||BOTTOM HALF||Semi-Finalist: YAN BINGTAO|
|John Higgins vs Ding Junhui|
Featured photo credit: @ChampofChamps