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 You are in: Special Events: 2001: Benson and Hedges Masters  
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  Sunday, 4 February, 2001, 21:53 GMT
Stevens dumped out by Hunter
Matthw Stevens in action
Matthew Stevens fails to retain his Masters crown
M Stevens (Eng) 5-6 P Hunter (Eng)

Frame scores (Stevens first): 85-0 (85 break) 82-32 (75) 40-86 (86) 74-14 27-88 (88) 38-93 (82) 26-85 (66) 68-4 (60) 86-0 (86) 0-74 (74) 32-70

Matthew Stevens, attempting to become the first player for eight years to successfully defend his Benson and Hedges Masters title, fell at the opening hurdle at Wembley Conference Centre.

Stevens led his stable-mate and good friend Paul Hunter 2-0 and 5-4 - but lost 6-5 after an enthralling contest lasting nearly three hours.

Hunter, runner-up to Ken Doherty in the Welsh Open, secured victory in a nervy deciding frame.


I know if I play well I can win any tournament
Paul Hunter

This was Stevens' sixth defeat this season by a deciding frame, and he looked in fine form with breaks of 85 and 75, helping him to a 3-1 lead at the interval.

Both players regularly had breaks over 50, but an excellent 74 by Hunter sent the contest to its fascinating climax.

"I'm just pleased to have won. It's my first victory here and I know if I play well I can win any tournament," said Hunter.

"The main thing is I'm enjoying my snooker again."

A miserable Stevens reflected on his early exit.

"It's disappointing to lose again but I'll go back to the practice table and hopefully things will turn round," the Welshman said.


J Swail (NI) 1-6 J White (Eng)

Frame scores (Swail first): 21-76 0-84 (59 break) 31-67 72-2 (72) 6-66 13-79 0-136 (136)

Jimmy White in action
Jimmy White looks in impressive form

Jimmy White delighted the capacity audience with a 6-1 drubbing of Joe Swail.

White was brimming with confidence, taking the opening three frames in 40 minutes and also claimed a fantastic 136 inthe final frame.

He now faces an intriguing battle with Ronnie O'Sullivan in the next round.


Shaun Murphy (Eng) 6-1 Marco Fu (Hkg)

Frame scores (Murphy first): 73-71 132-0 (113 break) 102 -27 (102) 84-32 29-76 76-38 76-51

Rank outsider Shaun Murphy proved his worth by comfortably beating current world number 12 Marco Fu.

Breaks of 113 in the second and 102 in the following frame demoralised the Far East challenge.

A break in the fourth stopped at 84 and meant he missed out on being the first player in the 27-year history of the event to make three successive tons.

Fu fought back to clinch the fifth but the Sussex-born player made sure of the victory in the next two frames.

"I've been working towards this day for 10 years, ever since I told my dad I wanted to be the best snooker player in the world," said the 18-year-old.

Order of play for the second round games on Monday:
11:00 (BST): J Higgins (Sco) v D Harold (Eng), followed by S Hendry (Sco) v S Murphy (Eng), followed by A McManus (Sco) v P Ebdon (Eng).

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"I've been feeling confident all season, I can win any tournament now"
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