At the Palace … day 4

Yesterday delivered two interesting matches in Ally PAlly, both of which I predicted the correct winner but got the way they went completely wrong.

Shaun Murphy beat Ali Carter by 6-4


My prediction was that it would be one-sided, whoever won, but fancied Murphy to do the job rather than Carter. Why? Because Murphy’s game is uncompromising attack. When they go in, he’s extremely difficult to stop, as we saw during the Champion of Champions, and Carter has a bit of a habit to go into a sulk when things don’t go his way. When they don’t go in however, Murphy is very vulnerable: a miss is likely to leave an open table to his opponent and Carter is an excellent all-rounder and break-builder and would definitely take advantage. Murphy being the in-form player coming here, I expected scenario nr one. And before the MSI, it looked like I was right. Murphy raced to a 4-0 lead in no time. But Carter didn’t go into a sulk, which is a very positive thing, and came back fighting. At 5-4, everything was definitely possible. But Murphy stayed positive, stuck to the attack and took the 12th frame nicely to win.

Here is the report on Worldsnooker

Shaun Murphy came through a tough battle against Ali Carter at the Dafabet Masters, winning 6-4 to set up a quarter-final clash with Judd Trump.

Murphy saw an early 4-0 advantage reduced to a slender one frame lead at 5-4, but he made an excellent break in frame ten to secure victory. The Magician is through to the last eight of this tournament for the ninth time and he will meet Trump on Friday afternoon at Alexandra Palace.

World number six Murphy has had a fine season so far, reaching four finals and winning the Champion of Champions. Three more wins this week would give him his second Masters crown having lifted the trophy in 2015.

Carter led by 29 points with just the colours left in the opening frame but failed to escape from a tough snooker on the yellow, allowing Murphy to clear and go 1-0 up. Nottingham-based Murphy got the better of a scrappy second frame then fired breaks of 119 and 87 to go 4-0 ahead.

World number 13 Carter got going with a 99 in frame five then then made a 110 in the sixth. That was the 19th century of the tournament, well on course to break the record of 31 set in 2009.

Murphy replied with a 93 in the seventh to lead 5-2. Both players had chances in the next but it was Carter who took it with a run of 50. In frame nine, Murphy looked on course for victory until he broke down on 36, and Carter punished him with a 93 clearance. But 2005 World Champion Murphy eventually took his chance, with a 76 in the tenth.

“I was very pleased with how I finished the match,” said Murphy. “The score at the interval was flattering, I shouldn’t have won all four of those frames. After the interval, Ali played some really good stuff.

“In the end, it was another Murphy match that should’ve been 6-2 or 6-3 and it was a bit more stressful than that, but I’m happy in the end. I was getting a bit nervous, I was so desperate to win. I was just trying so hard.

“The last thing you want to do is go home and sit on the couch. It was nerve-wracking but enjoyable. I love being out there playing and the crowd was so good, it was a great atmosphere.”

Looking ahead to his next match, Murphy added: “There could be fireworks. Judd can be a phenomenal snooker player, his break-building is only second to Ronnie’s. I’ve got my work cut out. I’ll go out there to play how I play and hopefully, I’ll get to six before he does.”

Carter said: “Shaun’s normally very one dimensional but he completely changed his game for today’s match because he knew I’d probably have the upper hand on his match game. The long pots he went for, he certainly got.

“I had too much to do at 4-0 down but it’s tiny margins. The first frame I lost he needed a snooker and if I’d won that frame then I would be 5-4 up not 5-4 down. All things considered, I’m glad I made a match of it. I missed one or two, but Shaun played really well so all credit to him.”

In the evening John Higgins beat Anthony McGill by 6-4


Again it didn’t develop the way I expected. I their two previous matches this season, Anthony had been beaten soundly and never looked like he could possibly win. The way I perceived it was that he was intimidated and in awe of John Higgins. With the raucous atmosphere at Alexandra Palace, I feared it would be even worse. But, no, Anthony really seemed to love it. It was a very tactical match and although he trailed 2-0 at a point, he never looked like being totally outplayed like he had been in previous matches. From 2-0 down he battled back so well that he ended up 4-2 up at a point. It could have been 5-2, Anthony was in front in frame 7, and if it had been, I believe that we would have a different winner, But he allowed John Higgins to come back in that frame, and as it so often happens with Higgins, if you don’t kill him off when you have the chance, he takes the opportunity and kills you …

Here is the report on Worldsnooker

John Higgins came from 4-2 down to beat Anthony McGill 6-4 at the Dafabet Masters and avoid a 13th first round exit at snooker’s biggest invitation event.

Now playing in the tournament for the 24th consecutive time, Higgins has a mixed record, having lifted the trophy twice but lost his opening tie 12 times. And he looked in danger of another early exit when he lost four frames in a row against fellow Glaswegian McGill.

But world number five Higgins weathered the storm and he goes through to a last eight clash with Ryan Day on Friday evening. Victory would put 42-year-old Higgins into the semi-finals for the first time since 2012.

Wishaw’s Higgins took the opening frame on the colours then made a break of 89 to lead 2-0. He had chances in the third frame but missed a tricky pink when leading 58-42 with one red left, allowing Masters debutant McGill to clear.

That gave McGill the momentum and he fired runs of 122, 61 and 76 to lead 4-2. Higgins won frame seven with a 67 then in the eighth he potted 11 reds and ten blacks as he chased a 147, only to miss the 11th black on 81.

A break of 65 saw four-time World Champion Higgins regain the lead at 5-4. McGill had first chance in frame ten and made 41 before failing on a tough red to a top corner. Higgins replied with 50 then ran out of position on the last red, but after a brief safety tussle he knocked in a long pot on the red and added the points he needed.

“I’m delighted because when I was 4-2 behind Anthony was dominating,” said Higgins, whose best moment so far this season came when he won the Indian Open in September. “I knew at that stage I needed to hit the ball with more authority because I wasn’t getting through the white at all.

“I was beginning to lose my rag at 3-2, I played a red to the middle and nearly miscued. I potted the red but nearly went in-off. I knew then that I just wasn’t hitting the ball well. Somehow I managed to turn it around.

“I fancied the 147 in the eighth frame because there were no nerves and the balls were all there. I think I got a kick on the black.”

Quarter-final line-up:

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Mark Allen (Thursday 1pm)
John Higgins v Ryan Day (Friday 7pm)
Judd Trump v Shaun Murphy (Friday 1pm)
Kyren Wilson v Mark Williams(Thursday 7pm)

So, today, we have the first two QF matches…

Let’s do a bit of predictions, for what it’s worth

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Mark Allen (Thursday 1pm)

This should be an entertaining match between two skilled and attacking players, who appreciate each other. Ronnie has vowed to entertain the crowd … If both play the way they did in the last 16, Ronnie should win relatively comfortably, because, quite honestly, Allen wasn’t at his best against Brecel: it was Brecel who was truly awful. But of course, this is another day and another match. Anyway, I expect a 6-3 or 6-4 win for Ronnie.
John Higgins v Ryan Day (Friday 7pm)

Ryan Day has impressed me. Winning his first ranking title earlier this season seems to have done his self-belief a lot of good. The way he came back against Ding was testimony of this new state of mind. Does he have enough to do the same against John Higgins? Maybe. I’m really not sure. John Higgins played very well yesterday evening in spells, but, when put under pressure, the signs of vulnerability where clear for all to see.  This will be interesting to watch. I still expect Higgins to win, but I will route for Day!
Judd Trump v Shaun Murphy (Friday 1pm)

I definitely favour Shaun Murphy in this one. Despite the win over Liang Wenbo, Judd hasn’t convinced me. On paper, he certainly has a decent season, and had a decent 2017 campaign. But there were those defeats from well in front against players he should have beaten hands down… Shaun will stick to his game plan: attack. I think he will put Judd under a lot of pressure, too much pressure.
Kyren Wilson v Mark Williams(Thursday 7pm)

Kyren Wilson will have to play better than he did against Barry Hawkins to beat “Willo”, Mark Selby’s conqueror. Mark Williams is back, and he knows that he can compete for titles again, he’s won two already this season. He’s a very, very tough match player. I think he will have too much for Kyren. I expect an entertaining match and one Kyren could learn a lot from, win or lose.


3 thoughts on “At the Palace … day 4

  1. my tips again:
    O’Sullivan 6-4 Allen
    Higgins 6-2 Day
    Trump 6-3 Murphy
    Wilson 6-5 or 6-4 Williams

    • thoughts:
      I expect a bit scrappy between Ronnie and Allen but Ronnie will survive.
      Day has no chance against Higgins and I’m, sure he will feel the pressure. Higgins will do the job easily.
      Murphy finished well against Carter but he wasnt impressive for me. And I think it’ll be a one-sided Trump victory
      Wilson and Williams. I cannot predict this one. It’ll be a very close battle.

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