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Carter clinches Masters quarter-final place after Williams win

Jonathan Davies in The Masters

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Carter came from behind on three occasions against Williams

Ali Carter booked his place in the Masters quarter-finals with a hard-earned 6-4 victory over Mark Williams at Alexandra Palace on Monday.

The Captain hit back-to-back centuries as he came from behind on three separate occasions, before winning four of the last five frames to deny the two-time champion.

Carter does not boast the strong record at the Masters. Aside from his run to the 2020 final, he had won just three matches in his 11 previous appearances at snooker’s most prestigious invitational event.

However, the five-time ranking event winner returned for the first time in four years as one of the season’s form players having reached the Wuhan Open and Shoot Out finals, and will play Judd Trump or Kyren Wilson in the last eight.

“Mark’s such a great competitor. I just dug in there today, I found it difficult,” he said.

“I think I got everything out of it to be two-all. Mark probably had the edge of the ball run in the first four [frames].

“I always felt like my game was there. I found a bit of form in the second half. There’s a lot of pressure out here and it’s just enjoyable to put in a good performance.”

Williams, who was making his 26th appearance, has come agonisingly close to landing a third Masters title in recent years. Runner-up to Trump 12 months ago, he suffered a heart-breaking 6-5 defeat in the 2022 semi-finals against Neil Robertson, who recovered from needing two snookers to prevail on the black.

The Welshman hit breaks of 66 and 93 as he edged his nose in front on three separate occasions, eventually going 3-2 to the good.

But he scored just a single point in the next two frames as Carter produced back-to-back centuries of 118 and 133 – his joint-highest break at the Masters – to lead for the first time.

Williams responded with 86 but the Captain was not to be denied, as courageous contributions of 61 and 66 saw him through.

Earlier in the day, Ronnie O’Sullivan advanced to his 25th Masters quarter-final with a 6-3 win over Ding Junhui, who compiled his second maximum break of the tournament.

The Rocket had won each of his five previous meetings with his good friend at this event, most memorably that resounding 10-3 victory over an emotional teenage Ding in the 2007 final.

The Dragon, who lifted the trophy in 2011, saw chances go begging in two of the opening three frames of the UK Championship final rerun from 36 days earlier, which O’Sullivan won 10-7.

The seven-time champion pounced on both occasions with breaks of 67 and 87, before a swift 106 put him 4-0 up at the interval.

He looked good for 5-0 but missed a routine red at 59-5 up in frame five, with Ding clearing with 56 to snatch it on the black.

The Chinese continued his fightback with 92 before that magical 147 raised the roof in Alexandra Palace and made it 4-3.

However, O’Sullivan stopped the rot and regained control with runs of 127 and 93 sealing the deal.

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Masters Snooker 2024 | Day Two Results

Monday January 8

Round One

Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-3 Ding Junhui
Mark Williams 4-6 Ali Carter