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Monday, 11 February, 2002, 04:01 GMT
Hunter bags second Masters
Paul Hunter
Hunter is the third player to defend the Masters title
Two-time British Masters champion Paul Hunter saved his first victory against Mark Williams for when it really mattered.

Hunter quickly found himself 5-0 down but after meeting up with his girlfriend during the interval, he came back to grind down the former world champion.

Hunter eventually triumphed 10-9, a repeat of last year's scoreline when he beat Fergal O'Brien after drawing on similar inspiration from his partner - then dubbed "plan B".

"I did exactly the same as last year," said Hunter, who trousered a record prize of 190,000.


I'm going to lose my confidence if I keep getting to finals and losing
Mark Williams

"And it seems to work. Maybe this year though it was Plan C."

Yorkshireman Hunter became only the third player, along with Cliff Thorburn and Stephen Hendry, to have ever retained the Masters title.

"It's a great feeling," he said.

"People said I was in the easy half of the draw but there are no easy matches in a tournament like this.

"Besides I had never beaten Mark before this match - but there's no better place to put the record straight than in the final."

Hunter had played left-handed Williams six times with no luck.

But he won more frames in the one match than he had in the previous six.

"At 5-0 down I wasn't exactly favourite - but I just had to hang in there and try to make the most of the balls Mark left me.

"It was important to try and finish the afternoon session not too far behind - so I was delighted to be only 5-3 down."

Williams admitted his current trend of losing in finals was turning into a worrying habit.

Mark Williams
Mark Williams is forgetting how to win

The 26-year-old Welshman extended his losing run in tournament finals to five and is now concerned that his confidence could suffer a permanent dent.

"I've lost finals when I've been well beaten but I threw this one away," he said.

"I had it in my grip but I'm a little sick I wasn't further ahead after the first session.

"Hopefully I can put this out of my mind because if not it could set me back even more."

Williams - who has not won since his world championship victory 16 months ago - continued: "It's not a nice feeling to lose this way but we've all been through it.

"However, I'm going to lose my confidence if I keep getting to finals and losing.

"But credit to Paul - he made a superb break in the final frame."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
B&H Masters champion Paul Hunter
"It was an exciting final"
B&H Masters runner-up Mark Williams
"He played well to come back"
BBC Sport's Phil Yates
"By the time the final frame arrived the tension was stifling"

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11 Feb 02 | Benson and Hedges Masters 2002
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