German Masters 2017 – Day 4 in Berlin

It was semi finals day in Berlin and there was still a possibility that we would have two top 16 players in the final despite the hecatombs in the early rounds. But “The Sheriff” had other ideas …

Here are the reports in Worldsnooker

Ali Carter beats Martin Gould by 6-2

Saturday 4 Feb 2017 05:49PM

Ali Carter scored a 6-2 win over Martin Gould in the semi-finals of the F66.com German Masters and is now just one win away from regaining the title he captured in 2013.

Gould’s hopes of defending his title ended as he missed balls at crucial moments. World number 14 Carter, who beat Marco Fu in the 2013 final, goes through to face Stuart Bingham or Anthony Hamilton over 17 frames at the Tempodrom tomorrow, with the winner to receive the 80,000 Euro top prize.

Chelmsford’s 37-year-old Carter will be bidding for the fifth ranking title of his career and is hoping to win two ranking crowns in the same season for the first time, having landed the World Open in July.

Londoner Gould took the opening frame today, knocking in a long pot on the penultimate red to initiate a 30 clearance. Carter hit back to win the next two with breaks of 83 and 61. In frame four, Gould led 57-0 only for Carter to make an excellent 71 clearance which included a fine pot on the last red along a side cushion.

Carter missed the final brown in frame five when he had a chance to extend his lead, allowing his opponent to clear for 3-2. But in the next it was Gould’s turn to make crucial errors as he missed tricky pots on both the final pink and black. Carter slotted the black into a baulk corner to double his lead.

World number 19 Gould led 55-17 in frame seven when he missed a tough pot on the third-last red. Carter punished him again with a 48 clearance to make it 5-2.

Two-time Crucible finalist Carter missed the black off its spot at 46-0 in frame eight, but it mattered little as he sealed frame and match when Gould failed to get the snookers he needed on the last red.

“It was a workmanlike performance today, though taking the positives I made some good clearances, said Carter after reaching his eighth ranking final. “I wanted to perform because it was a big crowd, but sometimes the frames go a bit scrappy. It would mean everything to win this because it’s a great venue and one of my favourite events. I don’t want to go all the way to the final and then lose. To walk out there tomorrow will be such a buzz.”

Gould, who has at least qualified for next week’s Ladbrokes World Grand Prix in Preston thanks to his run to the semi-finals, said: “I lost three frames that I was in control of. I thought we both played well but I had some bad luck and Ali capitalised on it.

“I came here to defend my title and I gave it the best that I could. Most people wouldn’t have given me a chance of defending it so I was under the radar.”

Anthony Hamilton beats Stuart Bingham by 6-4

Sunday 5 Feb 2017 12:12AM

Anthony Hamilton reached his first ranking event final in 15 years by beating Stuart Bingham 6-4 at the F66.com German Masters.

Veteran Hamilton, 45, has come through a strong section of the draw in Berlin, knocking out Mark Williams, Mark Selby, Barry Hawkins and now world number two Bingham. On Sunday he’ll face Ali Carter over 17 frames, with the winner to take the title and 80,000 Euro top prize.

Nottingham’s Hamilton will contest the third ranking final of his career, having lost to Fergal O’Brien at the 1999 British Open and Mark Williams at the 2002 China Open, when he led 8-5 only to lose 9-8. Victory at the Tempodrom on Sunday night would see the popular cueman finally shed the tag of ‘best player never to win a ranking event.’

It’s remarkable turnaround for Hamilton, who almost dropped off the professional tour last season. He just survived, and has enjoyed a dramatic improvement this term, winning 23 out of 35 matches.

Tonight’s match finished after 1am so he’ll hope to sleep well overnight to be fresh for another tough challenge against four-time ranking event winner Carter, who saw off Martin Gould 6-2 earlier today.

Bingham had a chance to win the opening frame but missed the last red to a corner pocket at 54-35, allowing Hamilton to snatch it. A run of 89 put world number 66 Hamilton 2-0 up before Bingham got the better of a scrappy 42-minute third frame.

The fourth came down to the last red and a cracking long pot from Hamilton set him up to clear for 3-1. In frame five, Bingham got the snooker he needed on the pink but then played a weak safety and Hamilton knocked the pink into a baulk corner for 4-1.

A marathon 47-minute sixth frame came down to a long tactical exchange, and Bingham could only get two of the three snookers he needed before his opponent potted yellow and green to go four up with five to play.

Bingham hit back with breaks of 49 and 80 to take the next two frames and when he made a 55 clearance to close to 5-4 he seemed to have the momentum. But a poor break off in frame ten proved his last shot as Hamilton made a match-winning 77.

“I’m a bit tired but really happy,” said Hamilton, whose parents Cliff and Stella have been among the crowd all week. “Hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow and I’ll put up a good show. In the last frame I just tried to get on with it and show a positive mental attitude. That was pleasing because I had gone a bit.

“It would mean everything to win it, the same as it was to Mark King in Belfast. It’s nine long frames away so I can’t get carried away – I can do that if I get to seven or eight, then I’ll be gasping for air! I have to play better to stand a chance against Ali. I might have to push the boat out to get chances. Obviously he’s a better player than me so he has won most of our matches.”

 Martin Gould deserves a lot of credit for the way he handled his first ever title defence, but yesterday Ali had too much for him in the tactical department. In was this, more than luck that was key to the result in my opinion.

As for Anthony Hamilton … where should I start?

Maybe with this article on inside-snooker by Hector Nunns

HAMILTON HAS A CHANCE TO SHED UNWELCOME MANTLE

Hector Nunns February 5, 2017

It was not without a scare or two but Anthony Hamilton saw off former world champion Stuart Bingham 6-4 at around 1am on Sunday morning to reach the German Masters final.

There he will face Ali Carter, who came through his semi-final far more comfortably earlier in the day with a 6-2 win over defending champion Martin Gould.

But despite Carter’s own incredible recent history and health battles to get back to the top, it was Hamilton’s day in Berlin at a sold-out Tempodrom.

The 45-year-old from Nottingham is in his 26th year as a professional, and has never won a ranking title – arguably the current holder of that unwelcome mantle ‘best player not to do so’.

Joe Perry was another that turned pro in 1991 that was only too glad to remove himself from that argument with his success at the Players Championship two years ago.

But Hamilton’s lack of a major trophy is if anything even more curious, and explanations for his failure to win more are almost certainly complex and deep-rooted.

You could bandy around cod psychology theorising, accusing him of a lack of self-confidence and even an inferiority complex given who he has tussled with from day one in the game.

And you can rue the fact that his relative absence in the latter stages of tournaments has cost us hearing the great nickname ‘The Sheriff of Pottingham’ on a more regular basis.

But Hamilton is, and always has been, a very good player. I recall once speaking to Ronnie O’Sullivan, who cited him as one of only three or four players he would stick with to watch on TV.

Now that may have been earlier in his career, because despite his haul of well over 250 century career breaks Hamilton can these days get very bogged down in a frame.

The match against Bingham was a good example. From 5-1 and the world No2 well out of sorts it was time to stamp on his throat, but Hamilton seemed almost to disrupt his own rhythm.

The previous two ranking finals came in 1999 and 2002, in which he lost respectively 9-7 to Fergal O’Brien at the British Open, and 9-8 to Mark Williams at the China Open.

But given the degree of class that hangs over Hamilton it seems difficult to call him a journeyman. Veteran, certainly, and underachiever without question – but a player, nonetheless.

He has other traits that have endeared him to many, if not always tournament director Mike Ganley. Hamilton’s often scruffy appearance has earned him rebukes from officialdom in the past.

But, and in a non-conformist way that you can’t help but secretly admire, he just doesn’t care. I remember asking him about the dress sense after one of these run-ins with the authorities, ironically at this event a few years ago.

And he basically answered that he didn’t have a lot of money, and he wasn’t going to waste any more than the bare minimum he could get away with to fulfil his playing duties and avoid sanctions. Spending it on travel seemed a much better use of the dosh.

But after all the challenging years and whatever the reasons for his not having more to show for his career, the popular and respected Hamilton now has another, maybe last, chance to get that title.

You have to beat good players as a world No66 to get to a final, and in this event Hamilton had already taken out Anthony McGill, Mark Williams, world No1 and world champion Mark Selby, and Barry Hawkins before Bingham.

He will again be a big underdog against Carter, a former winner in Berlin and already with one ranking title under his belt this season.

But in an era when the likes of Perry have broken their duck late on in life, it wouldn’t be a total surprise if Hamilton completed the fairytale on Sunday night.

And also the postmatch with the Eurosport pundits:

As you can hear, Ronnie is a fan! Seriously, Ronnie’s always rated Anthony very high, they practiced together in the past. And Anthony’s no-nonsense, genuine approach to life probably appeals to him too. It certainly appeals to me.

I will not sit on the fence here: I expect Ali to win today, he’s the fresher of the two, he’s won titles before and he’s playing very well. But I’ll be supporting  Anthony and squarely sit in Pottingham’s corner!

By the way there is plenty more of the excellent ES punditry with Ronnie, Jimmy, Neal and Colin on youtube. Enjoy!