All quarter finals where played yesterday and you can read here the Worldsnooker official reports:
Friday 2 Dec 2016 06:45PM
Mark Selby edged out John Higgins 6-5 in a titanic quarter-final clash at the Betway UK Championship.
An intense battle between two of snooker’s biggest guns, lasting well over four hours, came down to a thrilling deciding frame which Selby won on the colours. He goes through to the semi-finals on Saturday afternoon to meet Shaun Murphy, who thrashed Luca Brecel 6-1.
Selby is now just two wins away from becoming only the sixth player to win all three Triple Crown events on multiple occasions, after Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Mark Williams and Ronnie O’Sullivan. Leicester’s Selby has two World Championship crowns to his name, plus three Masters, and is now seeking to double his tally of UK titles having lifted the trophy in 2012.
World number one Selby started superbly today by taking a 3-0 lead with breaks of 119, 63 and 67. But when he missed the last red in the fourth frame when set to go 4-0 up, the match turned as Higgins snatched the frame then won three more, making a 106 to lead 4-3.
Selby’s 63 helped give him frame eight then Scotland’s Higgins regained the lead with a 75. Another 63 from Selby made it 5-5.
The decider lasted 46 minutes and both players wasted chanced as nerves set in. Selby led 60-39 when he missed the final yellow, and Higgins ‘trebled’ the yellow into a middle pocket, but then missed a thin cut on the green with the rest to a baulk corner. Selby potted green, brown, blue and pink to seal the match.
The result ended Higgins’ bid to capture three titles in a month having won the China Championship and Champion of Champions.
Selby said: “I just kept on believing and didn’t let my head go down. At one stage I felt like I was throwing it away. After the interval John started playing well and I had chances but I wasn’t putting them away.
“The drama is good for people watching but it’s not good for us players! When it goes to the last frame I always feel confident because I’ve won so many deciders in the past.”
Higgins said simply: “I’m gutted. I would rather have lost 6-0 than in the last frame like that.”
Murphy, by contrast, enjoyed smooth progress into the last four. After making a 32 clearance to win the opening frame, world number four Murphy knocked in runs of 51 and 112 to lead 3-0. Belgium’s Brecel pulled one back but never threatened a comeback as Murphy won three frames after the interval with top breaks of 54 and 88.
“My game is in good shape,” said Murphy, who won this title in 2008. “I’ve kept running into superheroes this season and fortunately this week my game has stood up a bit stronger.
“It will be tough tomorrow because Mark Selby does what world number ones do and fully deserves his position at the top of the game.”
Friday 2 Dec 2016 11:28PM
Ronnie O’Sullivan continued to blaze a path through the draw at the Betway UK Championship as he beat Mark Williams 6-2 to reach the semi-finals.
O’Sullivan has lost just five frames in his five matches so far as he targets what would be a sixth UK title, equalling the record held by Steve Davis. The world number eight from Chigwell is seeking to win his first silverware since lifting the Welsh Open trophy in February.
In the semis in York on Saturday evening he will face Marco Fu, who came from 5-2 down to beat Jamie Jones 6-5.
O’Sullivan took the opening frame tonight and might have added the second but missed a long pot on the last red, allowing Welshman Williams to clear with 33 to snatch it. O’Sullivan dominated frame three to regain the lead then Williams made a break of 78 for 2-2.
After the interval, O’Sullivan stepped up a great as runs of 64, 60 and 78 made it 5-2. In the next frame, on the brink of victory, he missed the last red to a baulk corner, but was lucky to snooker his opponent and from the chance that followed he wrapped up the match.
“Mark didn’t play his best,” said O’Sullivan. “He will have been happy to win a few matches here and make sure of his place in the Masters. I was happy with the professionalism and attitude I showed tonight to get the job done. I had to keep powering on and I felt that I would have too much for him. I will need to get stronger. I’m a fighter and I will keep fighting until it happens.”
Fu is through to the last four of this tournament for the second time in his career – the first coming in 2008 when he lost to Shaun Murphy in the final. The Hong Kong cueman had not been beyond the last 32 of a ranking event this season before this event, but has battled his way through five matches in York.
Welshman Jones looked set to reach the second ranking semi-final of his career when he built a 5-2 lead with top breaks of 58, 70, 54 and 69. His best chance to win came at 5-3 but he ran out of position on a break of 33. Fu hit back to take that one, then made a 75 in the next for 5-5 and dominated the decider, winning it 76-0.
The result means that the field for next month’s Masters is now finalised.
“It’s the first time in my career that I have got to the semi-finals of a big tournament playing my B or C game,” said two-time ranking event winner Fu. “I’m very surprised to still be here, the way I am playing. I need to improve dramatically.
“My experience played a part tonight. Jamie was suffering when he saw the winning line and made some mistakes. I saw that weakness and took advantage.
“It’s always special playing Ronnie so to meet him in the semis of the UK will be a great occasion for me. I just hope I can produce my best.”
Now all you need to know about Ronnie’s match … after all this his a fan blog, eh?
The ES pundits preview of the evening session:
Ronnie vs Mark Williams – the match:
The ES pundits analysis after the Ronnie vs William Match:
Ronnie’s post-match with Rob Walker:
As you can hear, Ronnie was pretty happy with his performance, despite not scoring as heavily as in previous matches. He feels that his safety game is coming together and that’s what he needs against the other top 16 contenders.