Ronnie O’Sullivan clashes with Mark Allen during tense game
Chinese wiz kid Yan Bingtao has been the surprise package at this week’s Masters and the 20-year-old is just one win away from getting his hands on the Paul Hunter Trophy – along with the £250,000 prize fund.
An experienced four-time world champion John Higgins stands in Yan’s way – but he should not be afraid having already seen off Neil Robertson, Stephen Maguire and Stuart Bingham.
Higgins beat Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter-finals and the Rocket has tipped his fellow veteran to go all the way.
“I definitely think if John plays his A game I’d make him just a slight favourite,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport.
“But if he doesn’t I’d make the other guy a favourite.
“So for me with all the variables that are involved in any match, it’s an even-money game all day long, I just think it’s going to be a blockbuster, really.”
However, O’Sullivan finds it strange that Yan has not changed his game from when he first broke onto the scene.
“It’s strange with his game because it doesn’t look any different from when he first came onto the scene and I’m not sure it’s going to be any different in 10 years time,” O’Sullivan added.
“I think he’s just a good match-player and he can win. That’s something you need to be able to do.
“You don’t always have to play great to win, or look spectacular, you just need to win and he knows how to do that a lot better than most of the Chinese players.”
Meanwhile, Stephen Hendry took to social media to make his prediction.
“First thoughts is that I would have to say John will be too strong over 19 frames for Yan,” Hendry said on Instagram.
“But we’ve tipped against him all week and he’s won three [games] 6-5, Yan Bingtao, so he’s got bottle, very impressive, very solid player.
“Does nothing exceptionally well, but does everything solidly well, which makes him very difficult to beat.
“I fancy John but in 20 years’ time we could be looking back and saying this was Yan Bingtao’s first title of many.
“Just hope for a good final, but I fancy John Higgins to win.”
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