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Zhao Xintong whitewashes Yan Bingtao to land German Masters crown

Jonathan Davies in German Masters

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Zhao claimed his second ranking title in the space of eight weeks

Zhao Xintong stormed to the German Masters title after inflicting a comprehensive 9-0 whitewash on good friend Yan Bingtao in the final.

It was another clinical display by the Cyclone, who hit a top break of 118 and compiled a further five runs over 50 at the Tempodrom in Berlin.

Indeed, there was no stopping Zhao as he became the second Chinese winner of this event after Ding Junhui eight years earlier, while completing the first whitewash in a final.

His second ranking title came just 56 days after his big breakthrough at the UK Championship, with only the late Doug Mountjoy (49 days) enjoying a shorter gap between his maiden two such triumphs.

There was a friendly vibe ahead of the first ranking final to be contested by two Chinese players since Ding Junhui defeated Xiao Guodong in the 2013 Shanghai Masters showpiece.

Both residents at the highly renowned Victoria Snooker Academy in Sheffield, Zhao and Yan opted for a warm embrace as opposed to the traditional handshake during their pre-match photograph with the Brandon Parker trophy.

However, all pleasantries were quickly put to one side as Zhao produced a clinical 74 clearance to draw first blood, before taking a lengthy second on the colours.

Breaks of 118 and 82 opened a commanding 4-0 lead at the interval and he continued to punish Yan’s mistakes upon the resumption of play.

The world number nine, who reeled off five straight frames from 3-1 down against Ricky Walden in the semi-finals, made it 6-0 with runs of 89 and 68.

Yan, who overturned deficits to prevail in deciders against Mark Selby and Ryan Day earlier this week, looked to give himself faint hope with a run of 60 in frame seven.

However, Zhao produced a stunning 70 clearance in just under three-and-a-half minutes to snatch it from under his opponent’s nose, before making it eight frames without reply to conclude the afternoon session.

Zhao and Yan’s compatriot Zhou Yuelong was the last player to be on the receiving end of a whitewash in a ranking event final contested over two sessions; going down 9-0 against Neil Robertson in the 2020 European Masters showpiece.

And Zhao ensured that his good friend followed suit just over two years later; wasting little time in securing the most commanding of victories.