Yesterday morning, ahead of the QF round, I predicted this line-up for the SF:
Elliot Slessor vs Mark Williams
Yan Bingtao vs Lyu Hao Tian
And it’s exactly what we got.
Elliot Slessor battled through a match that lasted over 5 hours to finally emerge the winner over Li Yuan in a deciding frame. It wasn’t pretty and it pushed the Mark Williams vs Mike Dunn match well behind schedule but Elliot who is through his first ever semi final won’t care.
Mark Williams got his first ever win over Mike Dunn in a ranking event, and in a match of meaningful length. It’s clear that Mark nowadays is a better player than he was 3 or 4 years ago and this was never even close.
The two evening matches went to a deciding frame. Yan Bingtao held himself together against the very dangerous Robert Milkins and came back from 2-0 down. It was probably the best match I got to watch in this tournament, really quality and entertaining. I didn’t see anything from the Lyu vs Tian match so I can’t comment.
Vic Snooker Academy has two teenagers in the SF here. They are doing wonders for their players. Lyu was a wonderkid at 14, got on the tour too early IMO, without the right entourage, lost his way and fell off it. He’s back with a bang and he’s only 19… As for Yan, should he win this event he would dethrone Ronnie as the youngest ever ranking event winner. Ronnie however would remain the youngest ever triple crown event winner, he won both the UK and the Masters as a teenager.
Here is the report on Worldsnooker:
17-year-old Yan Bingtao won a tremendous clash with Robert Milkins 5-4 to progress the semi-finals of the Dafabet Northern Ireland Open in Belfast.
Chinese prodigy Yan remains on course to become the youngest ever winner of a ranking event and tomorrow’s match will be his second semi-final within the space of a month.
He went on a tremendous run at the recent International Championship, demolishing Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-1 and brushing John Higgins aside 6-2, before bowing out against Mark Allen in the last four.
Milkins, who has now made 17 quarter-final appearances in his career will need to continue his quest to reach a first ranking final.
Yan now faces compatriot and fellow teenager Lyu Haotian for a place in the final. 19-year-old Lyu came out on top of a tense clash with former Ruhr Open runner-up Tian Pengfei 5-4.
Mark Williams is through to the last four following a 5-1 defeat of Mike Dunn. Two-time World Champion Williams is now favourite to clinch his first title since the 2011 German Masters, being the only top 16 player left after a week of shocks.
46-year-old Dunn, who has been struggling with illness this season, will reflect positively on an event which saw him reach only his fourth ranking quarter final.
Williams went 1-0 down this afternoon, but fired in breaks of 63, 71 and 53 as he blitzed to five frames in a row and secured his second semi-final appearance of the season.
Williams said: “I’ve been into the quarter-finals a couple of times and the draw has opened up. Then I ended up getting beat. I don’t look at it like that. It would be nice to win one. I’ll just try my best and if I win great, if not then no problem.
“It’s the first time in a long time I have been favourite. I don’t remember what that feeling is like. Let’s see what happens at the weekend.”
Elliot Slessor came through a four and a half hour marathon with Li Yuan 5-4. With the opportunity for either player to reach their first ever ranking semi-final there was a lot on the line. It was Slessor, who has already defeated Ronnie O’Sullivan this week, who handled the pressure best and claimed the decider .
Ronnie was in the studio in the evening, with Neal and Colin, providing some high quality punditry and analysis:
MissingClip (Williams v Dunn preview)
MissingClip (Milkins v YanBingtao preview)
Other than that Ronnie also issued another tongue-in-cheek, rather hilarious, manifesto.
Venting his frustration this way at what appears to be a lack of common sense from the authorities at times is probably better than losing it during a post match. My opinion anyway. He’s not challenging the rules, just the way they are enforced in total disregard for the actual situation sometimes.