Masters snooker results: Ali Carter wins 6-4 against Mark Selby; Joe Perry beats Ding Junhui 6-3 in opener

Ali Carter on his way to a 6-4 win
Ali Carter on his way to a 6-4 win

The Masters began with a pair of upsets as Ding Junhui and Mark Selby were dumped out by Joe Perry and Ali Carter. We have a full review.

Captain Carter flying high

Ali Carter dumped Mark Selby out of The Masters with a dogged 6-4 victory in a match which lasted four hours.

Carter is only in the field for the prestigious Triple Crown event owing to Ronnie O'Sullivan's decision to withdraw, his place going to the man who sits 17th in the world rankings.

It's an event in which he's never before reached the semi-finals, but he's now one win away from doing so after winning the last three frames against the 2008, 2010 and 2013 champion.

Selby paid the price for a slow start, though having rallied to lead 4-3 he will be perhaps more aggrieved at having then suffered a second slump, one which ultimately cost him.

"I was really nervous starting out there," confessed Carter. "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."

The first frame of the match was long, dramatic, and a fair indicator of what was to come.

Indeed the first pot was a wild fluke from Selby, only for Carter to return the favour, thrashing a snooker escape when trailing 51-8 and sending a red careering into the pocket.

Still, Selby got back to the table and appeared to have wrapped up the frame, only for an uncharacteristically careless pot on the yellow to see him go in-off and leave Carter needing two snookers rather than four.

Never one to pass up such an opportunity, Carter played an excellent snooker for his first, and Selby then over-swerved to miss again and gift the frame to Carter.

Another tense frame then developed and this time Selby produced a miraculous escape. The damage had been done, however, and Carter potted a good red to middle to double his advantage.

Selby was missing from range and Carter was not, but the latter misfired when attempting a mid-range blue in the third frame. That allowed the Jester to the table, but he managed only 32 before missing in the jaws, although this time Carter's attacking approach failed him.

Selby still had time for an error - a foul with the rest on the blue - but after Carter missed brown by a long way his lead was cut in two.

The final frame before the interval saw Carter rattle in a stunning long red, and though it took more than one visit he was able to dominate and head into the break with a commanding 3-1 lead.

Selby needed the break, and returning to the table it appeared as though the match might turn on a pivotal moment. Carter, still playing with fluency, was two pots from the frame but in disturbing the remaining cluster of reds, he ran out of position on 61.

With 83 remaining, Selby had a sniff and he took his chance brilliantly, thumping home a long red, glancing in a blue and, despite struggling to control the cue ball, taking care of the colours - including a thin cut back on the decisive black.

Selby was visibly boosted by stealing the fifth frame, and took the next with a 56 break triggered by a long red to level the scores, before capitalising on a miss from Carter to construct a surgical 94 break and lead for the first time.

And yet Carter is never beaten - he showed that in the UK Championship before Christmas, rallying to force Ding Junhui to go the distance - and it was his turn to level after yet another superb red from range, a hallmark of his performance.

The Essex potter then made a nerveless 63 break to lead again at 5-4 and, while not waltzing around the table with the elan he demonstrated early on, he plotted his way to a match-winning 68 break in the next.

Perry gets the better of Ding

Joe Perry beat Ding Junhui 6-3 to open the Dafabet Masters, earning a second-round clash with either Judd Trump or Shaun Murphy.

Despite appearing a little unsettled and playing the first part of the match largely on the back foot, Perry was never behind, and from 2-2 at the mid-session interval he powered to an ultimately convincing win.

Perry was pegged back every time having led 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2, but a superb break of 93 in frame seven really seemed to boost the confidence of the oldest player in the tournament.

From there, he went on to win just his fifth match at the event - three of which have been against Ding, who has bossed their head-to-head elsewhere.

Joe Perry won the opening match at the Masters
Joe Perry won the opening match at the Masters

"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.

"He 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. If you draw a top player like that and they are on their A-game you are up against it, but if they are missing the odd one or two you have to be there and take your chance.

"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. It is the only event in London and the top 16 are here. I loved how there are supporters on sofas in front of the commentators now. It feels like the perfect venue."

It was the Chinese who showed the greater promise early on, a break of 135 in frame two offering a glimpse of the form which had taken him to the UK Championship title before Christmas.

But Perry is nothing if not tough and kept the scoreboard ticking over with a series of gritty frame wins, before finding fluency in that 93 break which ought to have been a century but for a missed red down the rail after a fluke on the black.

This time, Ding couldn't level as Perry took a pivotal eighth frame from 41-0 down. Ding was among the balls and surely set to level, but a poor positional shot left him needing the rest and he left the red over the pocket.

Perry, now cueing noticeably well, sniffed blood and wrapped up the frame with a mid-range red, a shot Neal Foulds called 'the best shot he's played in the match' - a point later reiterated by studio analyst Ronnie O'Sullivan.

An 83 clearance there got Perry within a frame of the match and while missing a simple blue in the next, Perry was then handed a long-range plant due to a little carelessness and a lot of bad luck from his opponent.

When that went in, Perry was able to waltz around the table and secure a place in the quarter-finals, with Ding forced to reflect upon an opportunity missed.

“The match was a 50-50 one, but I didn’t take enough chances," he said. "I was losing position of the cue ball, trying to pot hard shots and missing every time.

“He did well today. Every time I missed, he took the chance and won the frames. I didn’t feel much pressure, but also didn’t quite have the concentration either. That is going to happen some days.”

Masters draw & tournament bracket

ROUND ONE

Scroll down for daily schedule and results

  • Judd Trump v Shaun Murphy
  • Ding Junhui 3-6 Joe Perry
  • Mark Selby 4-6 Ali Carter
  • John Higgins v Barry Hawkins
  • Neil Robertson v Stephen Maguire
  • Mark Allen v David Gilbert
  • Kyren Wilson v Jack Lisowski
  • Mark Williams v Stuart Bingham

Tournament schedule and round-by-round results

  • All matches up to and including semi-finals best of 11; final best of 19

Round one

Sunday 12 January
Afternoon Session (1300 - BBC/Eurosport)

  • Ding Junhui 3-6 Joe Perry

Evening Session (1900 - BBC/Eurosport)

  • Mark Selby 4-6 Ali Carter

Monday 13 January
Afternoon Session (1300 - BBC/Eurosport)

  • Neil Robertson v Stephen Maguire

Evening Session (1900 - BBC/Eurosport)

  • Mark Allen v David Gilbert

Tuesday 14 January
Afternoon Session (1300 - BBC/Eurosport)

  • Judd Trump v Shaun Murphy

Evening Session (1900 - BBC/Eurosport)

  • John Higgins v Barry Hawkins

Wednesday 15 January
Afternoon Session (1300 - BBC/Eurosport)

  • Kyren Wilson v Jack Lisowski

Evening Session (1900 - BBC/Eurosport)

  • Mark Williams v Stuart Bingham

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