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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Master Day Three

Day three of the 2013 Betfair Masters and the drama shows signs of letting up after another extraordinary day at the Ally Pally.

First up this afternoon we had Judd Trump up against Barry Hawkins and the question on our lips was could Trump put his shock first round UK Championship defeat behind him and cement his position as pre tournament favourite.

As has been the the case a lot this week the early exchanges in this one were pretty level as both players shared the opening four frames to go in 2-2 at the interval with both players seeming to be warming to the task with each passing frame.That standard increased as the score became 3-3.

The turning point seemed to come in the next as Trump broke down on 41 allowing Hawkins in to clear up with 85 and retake the lead 4-3,He then moved within one frame of victory with a run of 61 to make it 5-3 and a major shock looked on the cards.

As I said yesterday though it's in situations like this that good players become great players and if Trump is to be thought of in those terms in years to come he will have to keep responding as he did today.Knowing he was potentially one mistake away from losing the match Trump produced a wondefully fluent century to close to 5-4. The pressure was now back on Hawkins and it showed as he missed some glorious chances to get over the line in the next.Trump eventually clinched it though on the pink and took full advantage of a poor break off in the last to seal the win with another class century.

For Hawkins perhaps we saw the reason why despite having all the talent necessary to make it to the very top he has never quite managed to get there.Trump though is another story and for all the great displays he has produced over the last two seasons it is digging out results like this that will stand to him as he goes about making his mark in the sport.

In tonights match it looked as though we might be in for a rare straight forward evening as Shaun Murphy coasted to a 4-1 lead against a clearly struggling Ricky Walden.There is one thing we have learned this week though and that is a game of snooker can turnaround very quickly.Walden suddenly found something and fought back from behind to make it 4-2.That became 4-3 when he won the next on the colours and the comeback was complete when he leveled 4-4 with a 65 break.

By this stage both players were feeling it but it was Murphy who held himself together the better to make it 5-4. The tenth frame was one of those things that makes us rightly proud of the sport we love.Having gotten the snooker he required Walden was well placed to clear up and force a respot but when stretching for the blue he felt his shirt touch the black and immediately called the foul on himself.This left him needing snookers again and Murphy potted the balls he need to secure the win 6-4.

Murphy now play John Higgins in the quarter final and will be hoping for a repeat of the victory he enjoyed over the Scotsman here last year.

Tomorrow see's the conclusion of the first round ties and we have the small matter of our current world no.1 and UK Champion Mark Selby entering the fray.We should be in for another cracking days snooker.

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