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Thursday, 6 December 2012

UK Championship Quarter final round up.

It's a funny old game is this snooker,sometimes you get tournaments that start with a flourish in the early rounds only to fizzle out when they reach the latter stages and sometimes you get the reverse with tournaments starting slowly and building momentum as the rounds progress.I think as far as this years William Hill.com UK Championship is concerned we are very much talking about the latter.

So to the action and yesterday the crowd in York were on the edge of there seats as Mark Davis scraped by John Higgins and the question was could any of todays ties match the tension.Cue then Shaun Murphy and Luca Brecel.The story of the championship so far in many ways has been the run of Luca Brecel. The question was what could the 17 year old do against Murphy.

If the young man was feeling the nerves coming out to play the biggest match of his life he certainly wasn't showing it as he took the first to lead 1-0.Murphy clinched the second to level and then  took at 2-1 lead with a classy 122 break.The tone for the match was to be set here though as Brecel won the fourth to leave it 2-2 at the interval.That would go on to become 3-3 and the 4-4 as the players traded frames and we were yet again set up for a grandstand finish

The match was now effectively a best of three and it was Brecel who took the advantage with his highest break of the match,a 64 to go 5-4. It looked as though we might be going to have an upset in the next as Brecel looked to be clearing up for victory but missed a crucial pink allowing Murphy to force the decider.5-5.

The eleventh frame was one of those frames that makes our sport what it is. Both player had chances in the last but it looked like Murphy was clearing up to win only to get a massive kick on the final red when only two pots from victory.Luca came to the table with the chance to clear for a famous win but with the adrenaline flowing he screwed back too far when potting the brown.That left him the wrong side of the blue and although he potted it he couldn't get back enough to make the pink a certainty.He wobbled it in the corner pocket ans a visibly relieved Murphy potted the pink in the  middle to reach the semi finals.

For Brecel there will be hugely disappointment the way the match finished but he can take a lot of positives from not only the way he played but the way he battled this week He has shown himself to have a fine big match  temperament and looked extremely comfortable in the big arena.The hope now having experienced the bright lights is that he can readjust to the cubicle situation of the qualifiers and make sure his appearances in the final stages of events become a regular occurrence.If he can there is a every chance we could be looking at the first World Champion from mainland Europe..

Murphy on the other hand must ready himself for a best of 17 frame semi final where his opponent will be Ali Carter.who beat Stuart Bingham 6-4 n the other table.Bingham has been riding the crest of a a wave of late and started the brighter here to take the opening frame.Carter though is becoming the man for the big occasion and played almost faultless snooker to lead 3-1 at the interval.That became 4-2 after the interval but it was Bingham who then dug in to win the next two to level the match at 4-4 and set up a tight finish.It was to be he Carter who showed the greater resolve though and won the next to make it 5-4 before sealing victory in a tense tenth frame.

The other semi final will see Mark Davis play Mark Selby after they both enjoyed victories in tonights quarter finals,

Mark Davis after 21 years on the circuit is enjoying the greatest form of his life and came into tonights match with Matthew Stevens on a high after his closely fought victory over John Higgins last evening.If there was a fear perhaps it was that he would be mentally drained after such an exhausting encounter and.it looked as if that may be the case as Stevens started the better to lead 2-0.There is one thing however that this recent run of good form has thought Davis though and that it is not to panic.He would soon found his feet to take three in a row to lead 3-2.Stevens was now floundering and though he did show some resolve to level at 3-3 and 4-4 it was Davis who prevailed winning in the end 6-4.

The last of the quarter finals between Neil Robertson and Mark Selby had the potential to be a classic or a slog and this one turned out to be a slog though it was no less enthralling for that

.In a match where neither player got their cue arms flowing it was Robertson who made the better start winning the first four frames to lead 4-0 at the mid session interval.At this stage it seemed there could only be one winner but there is one vital thing all Snooker players need and that is the ability to win ugly when the situation calls for it. In the modern game there are few better at this art then Msrk Selby.Slowly he grinded his way back into it and although Robertson had his chances Selby leveled things up at 4-4..That became 5-4 when Selby won another marathon frame on the colours.to take the lead for the first time and he sealed the  6-4win with a fine 101 break in the last...

Tomorrow see's the arena become that little more intimidating when it goes down to one table and the matches revert to best of nines..First up will be Ali Carter and Shaun Murphy with Mark Davis and Mark Selby enjoying a day of rest before they do battle on Saturday.If they can live up to the drama of the last couple of days we are in for a fascinating weekend. 

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