Well, well, well … none of the posters boys are still in the mix as we reach the semi finals stage.
The Last 16 round took its toll of big names with Ronnie, Judd Trump, Ali Carter and Ding Junhui tumbling out. Ronnie, Ali and Judd had played very well in the first round but fell to inspired opponents, unable to raise their game to the level they usually display.
Ronnie and Judd in particular both lost by 4-1, to Neil Robertson and Barry Hawkins respectively. Both Neil and Barry had been brilliant in the last 16 and both struggled in the next round. As they met each other, one of them had to go through and it’s Barry who managed it but a rather bitter Judd remarked on twitter that Barry had made more mistakes in the first frame of the QF than he had in the whole match they had played in the last 16. Ronnie said nothing … but he could have said the same because Neil was nowhere near the level he had shown against him.
In general I feel that nobody plays consistently in the last few weeks, except Marco Fu who is still in the draw. I believe that the amount of snooker they have to play is maybe too much: there is a lot of travel, no break and very little time for practice. Match play is of course necessary to be sharp, but practice is also needed to assess ones technique and work on specific aspects of it. And of course there is accumulated tiredness.
The Defending Champion, Shaun Murphy departed in the QF stage at the hands of Ryan Day who will now surely want to avoid the unwanted “best player who never won a title” tag. He has his work cut out though as he will face an in-form Marco Fu in the semi finals.
The other semi final will see Liang Wenbo play Barry Hawkins.
All detailed results are on Cuetracker. (or will be there soon)