China Championship 2018

The Riga Champions

The Kaspersky Riga Masters was first held in 2014…here’s a look back at the four previous stagings of the tournament.

In 2014, Mark Selby was the inaugural winner of the tournament – then called the Kaspersky Riga Open – when it was first staged in the Latvian capital four years ago. Selby looked as if he would have to settle for the runner-up prize when he trailed Mark Allen 3-0 in the final. Breaks of 65, 100 and 62 got Selby back to 3-3. Allen had first chance in the decider but missed a red on 33, and Selby’s superb 63 clearance gave him the title. “It has been a fantastic tournament all weekend and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Selby, who won the first of his three world titles in the same year. “It has been a great success. In Europe we always get good crowds and that’s what we play snooker for.”

Barry Hawkins captured the title in Latvia in 2015. He knocked out the likes of Anthony McGill, Michael White and Graeme Dott to reach the final, then beat Tom Ford 4-1 with top breaks of 65, 57 and 62. “It feels great to win, especially as it was a strong field with a lot of good players,” said Hawkins.

Barry Hawkins, Ryan Day and Neil Robertson have all enjoyed success in Riga

In 2016, the Kaspersky Riga Masters became a full ranking event for the first time, and it was Neil Robertson who took the crown. Australia’s Robertson beat Judd Trump at the quarter-final stage, then in the final he came from 2-1 down to beat Michael Holt 5-2 with a top break of 79. “It’s an amazing feeling,” said the Thunder from Down Under. “I had to dig in deep and I potted some really good balls under pressure.”

Ryan Day is the reigning Kaspersky Riga Masters champion having won his first ranking title last year in Latvia. He knocked out the likes of Barry Hawkins, Joe Perry, Kyren Wilson and Mark Williams to reach the final, then beat Stephen Maguire 5-2 with a top break of 77. “It has been a long time coming and I’m delighted to win a trophy,” he said.

The 2018 Kaspersky Riga Masters runs from Friday to Sunday this week. Click here for the match schedule and here for the Eurosport broadcast schedule.