The first semi final tomorrow throws together one of those fascinating clashes of style you only get in snooker when Judd Trump takes on Peter Ebdon.
Judd who will become the new World no.1 if he reaches the final here moved one step closer to that dream with a narrow 6-5 victory over Mark Allen.This was a match of the highest quality with two of the games most exciting players playing at their fluent best.The first four frames were shared to leave it 2-2 at the interval before a 107 helped Judd go 4-2 up.A 121 form Allen closed it 4-3 but when Trump then made it 5-3 it looked like it might be the decisive move.Allen to his credit though was not for giving up.Another century this time a 104 made it 5-4 and when Trump failed to make the most of his chance in the next Allen won it to force the decider.In the 10 months since The Masters in January Trump has found himself in this position on more then one occasion with a match seemingly in his grasp only to let it slip away but today he gave those who have questioned his temperament the perfect answer taking his chance to win 6-5.This really was a superb match and without doubt in these two we have a rivalry that will only grow in the years ahead.
On the other table we had a match that was the total opposite to this thrill a minute stuff but none the less produced an equally impressive winner as Peter Ebdon beat Ricky Walden 6-0.Walden may still have been feeling the effects of his marathon 321 minute match with Selby the night before but whatever the reason he couldn't get going against Ebdon who has now reached the semi final only dropping one frame along the way.
The second semi final will be a battle of two former World champions as Neil Robertson play Shaun Murphy.
Robertson never looked at his best but his experience showed as he beat the young Chinese star Lu Haotian 6-2.The crucial frames in this one came when Robertson already leading 3-2 took the next two on the black to go 5-2.He then made most of his chance in the next to seal the win.Robertson was full of praise for his young opponent in the post match press conference and no doubt this teenager will be a featuring in the latter stages of tournaments again sooner rather then later.
Shaun Murphy booked his semi final place with a 6-4 win over Marco Fu.In this one Murphy despite winning the opening frame found himself trailing 3-1 at the interval before he visibly upped a gear to take four frames in a row and lead 5-3.Fu did manage to close the gap to 5-4 but Murphy was not to be denied and won the next to secure the win.
As someone who has always favoured the longer format match's I am really looking forward to the novelty of semi finals been played over two sessions.I know its probably to much to wish for that these might become the norm again but at the very least they provide a welcome break from the bitesize format of other tournaments.