Ali Carter sees off Mark Selby at The Masters as Joe Perry downs Ding Junhui
Ali Carter capitalised on his unexpected Masters call-up by pulling off a 6-4 scalp of Mark Selby on opening day at Alexandra Palace, while Joe Perry dispatched Ding Junhui.
Carter, the world number 17, was drafted in to the lite invitational to replace Ronnie O’Sullivan – who opted out of participating – and ‘The Captain’ seized his chance by knocking out three-time champion Selby.
The two-time world finalist reeled off three consecutive frames from 4-3 down to book his place in the Quarter-Finals of The Masters for only the third time.
“I was really nervous starting out there,” Carter told Eurosport. “You sort of forget what it’s like out there.
“I’m delighted to win. It’s a big match for me, he’s such a tough player. It was nice to dig deep in the end there – every ball felt like a pint of blood.
“If I get my back up against the wall, that’s when I come out fighting.”
Carter battled his way to a lengthy opening frame before doubling his lead without the need for a half century, though the English Open and Scottish Open champion did get off the mark in a low-scoring third frame to halve the deficit.
A stunning long red paved the way for Carter to control frame four and establish a 3-1 interval lead, but it was Selby who dug deep after the restart to overturn a 61-point deficit with a break of 74 to cut the gap.
Back-to-back breaks of 56 and 94 saw ‘The Jester’ turn the match on its head and lead for the first time at 4-3.
Carter, however, hit back with a break of 82 for parity before regaining the upper-hand with a 63 to move to the brink of victory.
The four-time ranking event winner then got over the line in convincing fashion with a break of 68 to set up a Last Eight clash with either John Higgins or Barry Hawkins.
Earlier in the day, Joe Perry became the first man through to the Second Round after a shock 6-3 scalp of 2011 Masters Champion Ding Junhui.
In his first Masters appearance since finishing runner-up in 2017, Perry continued his love affair with the Ally Pally by ending UK Champion Ding’s hopes of back-to-back Triple Crown titles.
“The second half of the game was much better than the first,” said Perry. “I felt good at the start, but then I missed a few easy balls and started thinking a bit too much. The interval came at the right time, because I felt like I was hanging on.
“Ding is one of the best players in the world and has been for a very long time. When he is on his game, as we saw in the UK Championship, he is pretty much unplayable.
“This tournament feels how it should, it is the absolute blue riband event on the circuit. You have the World Championship, but this is the showcase.”
Perry drew first blood before Ding registered the first century of the tournament with a sublime 135 clearance to level.
The pair then exchanged frames three and four to go in to the mid-session interval all-square before Perry got his nose back in front courtesy of a 71 break.
Ding returned the favour immediately with a 71 of his own to make it three apiece but successive breaks of 93 and 83 moved Perry two clear and within sight of the winning line.
The Cambridge cueist then dominated frame nine by 90 points to seven to clinch a memorable win in front of a sell-out crowd in the capital.