Stuart Bingham became the latest new name on The Masters trophy after a thrilling 10-8 victory over Ali Carter in the final at Alexandra Palace on Sunday.
Bingham, 43, etched his name in the snooker history books by claiming the sport’s most prestigious trophy and record £250,000 top prize by denying his Essex rival in a classic contest.
Both players had won through to their first Masters final without making a century break between them, but rose to the occasion to produce a close-run classic in front of a sell-out crowd.
Bingham, who adds this title to his 2015 World Championship triumph to move two thirds of the way towards a career Triple Crown, admitted: “It’s unbelievable, I’m absolutely speechless.
“Ali played so well I was starting to think about what to say after being beaten. How I turned it around I don’t know.
“I’ve really enjoyed the week and I think that’s the key to my game and why I can perform like that.
“I am shattered. I’ve had about nine hours’ sleep in two days. Every time he was scoring I was sitting in my chair thinking ‘this is getting really comfy’.
“To get my hands on this trophy means the world.”
Bingham had established a 5-3 lead at the close of play in the first session with breaks of 75 and 66 along the way, notably edging the sixth frame on the final black to level at three-all.
Carter began brightly with his first century of the tournament (126) in the opening frame and added a 93 in frame five to lead 3-2 before Bingham reeled off three on the spin.
Carter then made a commanding start to the evening session, racing to the first four frames without reply to move 7-5 ahead with the aid of breaks of 95 and 133.
Bingham, though, responded in kind, storming to four frames in a row of his own with consecutive breaks of 64, 85, 58 and 88 to regain command and move within a frame of victory at 9-7.
Carter stopped the rot with a fine break of 77, but Bingham saved his best frame of the tournament until last, firing in his first century (109) to close out a dream triumph.
Two-time world finalist Carter was forced to settle for second prize in a Triple Crown event for the third time, and admitted: “I’ve turned up and done better than what I expected.
“I’m disappointed not to win but you can’t argue with that, he finished off really well.
“There’s a lot of positives to take, I’ve got to say all the right things, but I’m gutted.”
Carter was handed an unexpected call-up to The Masters as world number 17 following the withdrawal of Ronnie O’Sullivan and defeated former World Champions Mark Selby, John Higgins and Shaun Murphy en route to the final.
Not a bad time to make your first century of the tournament ??♂️?
— Live Snooker (@Livesnooker) January 19, 2020