Having been traveling yesterday, and being very busy too with family stuff, I haven’t seen much at all from yesterday’s action.
Ali Carter was a 4-1 victor against Mark Allen after the Northern Irishman handed him the fifth frame before its completion at the Coral World Grand Prix in Cheltenham.
The Captain progresses to reach his third quarter-final of the campaign and boosts his chances of progressing to the next event in the Coral Series, the Players Championship. The top 16 players in the one-year ranking list will travel to Preston, with the top eight going on to the Tour Championship in Llandudno.
Carter came into this week ranked 17th and is now guaranteed to add £12,500 to his tally. Despite defeat in this event, Allen can take comfort from the fact he has comfortably secured his progression through the series. The Pistol tops the one-year list having already secured victories at this season’s International Championship and Scottish Open.
After Allen claimed the first frame this afternoon, it was Carter who gained the edge as both players struggled to produce their best form. He took four frames on the bounce, top scoring with a break of 86. However, it was the last frame which led to the biggest talking point with the scores at 3-1.
Allen trailed 20-2, before conceding the frame early after going in off on the yellow. He gently pushed the yellow away with his hand and gave Carter the tie.
Carter said: “It was a win to 3-1, but Mark conceded there. You never want to win like that. I feel for him because he is the player in form. He just lost his head for a little while. We have all done it and it is so easy to do.
“I was just sitting there and he has come and shook my hand. I asked him if he was sure and he just said he wanted to get out of there.”
Carter’s opponent in this evening’s quarter-final tie will be David Gilbert who put on a superb display to whitewash Ding Junhui 4-0.
The Tamworth cueman reached the final of last week’s German Masters in Berlin and has carried that form over to Cheltenham. He is yet to drop a frame this week and completed this afternoon’s win with breaks of 101, 66, 138 and 74.
World number one Mark Selby set up a mouth watering quarter-final meeting with Judd Trump thanks to a 4-2 defeat of Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham. While last week’s German Masters winner Kyren Wilson secured his last eight spot with a 4-0 whitewash win over Stuart Bingham.
Here is Mark Allen’s concession
Thursday 7 Feb 2019 10:56PM
Yuan, age 18, had knocked out Mark Williams and Stephen Maguire in Cheltenham to reach the second ranking event quarter-final of his career, but was narrowly edged out by fellow Chinese potter Xiao, with whom he shares a house in Darlington.
World number 24 Xiao goes through to the semi-finals to face Ali Carter on Friday evening. The 29-year-old is two wins away from his first career ranking title; he reached the final of the 2013 Shanghai Masters and 2017 Shoot Out but was runner-up both times.
Xiao took the first two frames tonight with a top break of 70, then Yuan recovered to 2-2 with a high score of 59. Frame five went Xiao’s way before his opponent claimed a scrappy sixth with a thumping long pot on the final black. Yuan also took the seventh to lead for the first time at 4-3.
A run of 77 got Xiao back to 4-4. In the decider, Yuan had one clear chance but only made 15 before running out of position. He later trailed 42-16 when he was trapped in a tough snooker behind the yellow, and while he hit one of the four remaining reds, he left Xiao the chance to add 24 points which proved enough.
Carter eased into the last four with a 5-1 defeat of David Gilbert. German Masters finalist Gilbert couldn’t keep up the form he showed in Berlin last week, his only highlight coming in frame four with a break of 101. World number 19 Carter took the other five frames with a top run of 88 to reach his first ranking event semi-final since the 2017 China Championship.
Chelmsford’s 39-year-old Carter is aiming for the fifth ranking title of his career and first since the 2016 World Open.
Maybe having to play his QF match on the same day as his last 16 match was David Gilbert undoing. He had played brilliantly in the afternoon, he was outplayed in the evening. He played a lot of snooker over the last two weeks having made the Final in Berlin on Sunday.
Xiao Guodong and Yuan Sijun are both members of the Q House club in Darlington where they practice together. Commentators also mentioned that there are housemates. This always presents a very different proposition to both players than a match against someone they don’t really know personally. The players have to take that close relationship, even friendship, out of their mind and maybe the more experienced Xiao managed this better than Yuan.