Day 6 was a tale of the unexpected. That Barry Hawkins came out the winner against Mark Selby wasn’t that much of a surprise considering how well he played in the previous matches, but, the score is as it wasn’t even a close match actually. Mark Selby was outplayed and he will have to wait for another year to get a chance at holding all triple crown trophies at the same time. Joe Perry was very solid but it’s not unfair to say that Ding was very, very poor, and the score reflects that.
So what do we have in store for today? Ronnie will have to improve considerably to overcome Marco Fu; he seems to be over the worse of his flu, but will two days be enough to be prepared for a battle against one of the very best break-builders of all times? I’m not sure. I expect Marco to come on top. In the other semi final, I’ll go for Hawkins, who I tipped from the start to be a dark horse. Perry and Hawkins are similar players in many ways, but tactically I fancy Hawkins to get the upper hand, and also, Barry has been in World and Masters finals, Joe hasn’t and that kind of experience may be a factor too. The two are very close friends, a bit like Ronnie and Liang in the first round. It might also come down as to whom is best equipped to take this off their mind at the crucial times.
Here are the reports on Worldsnooker:
Friday 20 Jan 2017 05:05PM
Barry Hawkins knocked World and UK Champion Mark Selby out of the Dafabet Masters, winning 6-3 to reach the semi-finals at Alexandra Palace.
Selby had come to London with the chance to become only the fifth player – after Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins and Mark Williams – to hold all three Triple Crown titles simultaneously.
But that dream is now over as the world number one was outplayed by 11th seed Hawkins. London’s 37-year-old Hawkins, who reached the final last year before losing 10-1 to Ronnie O’Sullivan, goes through to the last four to face Ding Junhui or Joe Perry on Saturday evening.
The opening frame today lasted 41 minutes and Hawkins won it after getting the better of safety battles on the yellow and green. Selby levelled with a break of 76 before Hawkins took the next two frames with 63 and 60 to lead 3-1 at the interval.
Selby came from 62-0 down to win frame five with an excellent 71 clearance, only for Hawkins to regain the momentum by dominating the sixth for 4-2. A run of 101 from Selby saw him halve his deficit, but he didn’t score a point in frame eight as Hawkins took it with 49 and 36.
Hawkins led 60-38 in the ninth when he missed a tricky pot on the last red along a side cushion. Selby had a chance to clear but missed the brown to a baulk corner. And a loose safety from Selby proved his final shot as Hawkins cleared for victory.
“I was quietly confident, but you can’t be too confident going in against the world number one,” said two-time ranking event winner Hawkins. “I feel happy with my game at the moment. I knew I had to play well to have any chance of winning. I was pleased the way I stayed strong out there today.
“If I can take anything from that game it was the way I bounced back after losing a couple of sore ones. He nicked one from 60 behind and then I missed a black off the spot at 4-2 and he made a century. That was quite tough but I was pleased with the way I came back.
“It’s up there with one of my best ever wins, along with beating Ronnie at the Crucible. Selby’s been a machine over the last few years. If you’re going to beat him, you have to play well. Even when I was 5-3 up, I wasn’t getting carried away because he’s come back so many times before. It’s one of the best wins of my career for sure and I’m in the semi-final of another major which is great, so I want to keep on going.
“Last year’s Masters was a great experience, apart from the final. But they are great memories and I played some good stuff. Hopefully I can get to the final and show up a little bit better than I did then.
The ‘Selby Slam’ dream is over
“It always hurts whenever you lose but to lose 10-1 – I felt a bit demoralised. I was gone in the end, it’s a horrible place to be. I’ve definitely learnt from that.”
Selby said: “I wasn’t thinking about the Triple Crown titles. I was just going out there to win a game of snooker. But every credit to Barry, he punished me every time he got a chance.
“I’ve had a great start to the season. Even though I’ve lost today, I still feel my form’s there so I’m not too disappointed. At the same time, it would have been nice to win and give myself the chance to try and hold all three at the same time. You’ve got to lose at some stage I suppose.”
Friday 20 Jan 2017 10:37PM
Joe Perry scored a tremendous 6-1 win over Ding Junhui to reach the semi-finals of the Dafabet Masters for the first time.
World number nine Perry came into this week in poor form having failed to go beyond the last 16 of any tournament since October. But he has produced some excellent snooker in beating both Ding and Stuart Bingham by 6-1 scorelines.
The 42-year-old from Chatteris, who had only once before reached the quarter-finals of the Masters, now faces Barry Hawkins on Saturday evening for a place in the final and is already guaranteed a £50,000 pay day. Victory over Hawkins would put him into the final of Triple Crown event for the first time.
It was a lacklustre display from China’s Ding who made too many unforced errors as his usually-accurate potting radar went awry. Perry took the first four frames with a top break of just 55.
The Englishman extended his lead after the interval, making a 63 in frame five, before Ding finally showed some resistance as a superb long red set up a run of 54 which helped him make it 5-1. But when he missed a red to a corner pocket early in the seventh frame, he could only sit and watch as Perry finished in style with a break of 127.
Ding was well below his best
“It doesn’t get much better than that,” said Perry, who won his first ranking title at the 2015 Players Championship. “Ding is one of the greatest players the game has ever seen. We all know what he’s capable of. I just felt like I controlled the match from start to finish, so that’s a real feather in my cap.
“I came in here with no form. So it’s nice to play with no expectations. I think I stole Neil Robertson’s long game tonight because my long potting was the strongest part of my game. My safety was good. I kept control of the table.
“I’d rather never play Barry again, for the simple reason he’s my best mate on the tour. On the plus side of that, one of us is going to be in the final. I’m sure whoever wins will congratulate the other and wish them all the best and hope they go on and win it.
“When I won my first ranking title, that did get a big monkey off my back. I always believed I was good enough to win one. I don’t think age is a barrier in our game, it’s all about desire and dedication.
“I dreamed about this moment many times when I was younger. My first ever visit to a snooker tournament was watching Jimmy White play Ray Reardon in the Masters at the Wembley Conference Centre. My dad picked me up from school and I just dreamed that one day I would play in that tournament. Now to have a chance of playing in a final here is amazing.”