Quarter Finals day in Beijing and on the face of it looked to have been rather straight forward,as all four higher ranked players got through to the semi finals but it could really be argued here that the final scores only tell half the story.
First man through to the semi finals wa ark Selby who beat Mark Williams 5-1.After sharing the opening two frames,Selby won a longish third to lead 2-1 before a fourth frame that would prove to be crucial to the outcome.Williams got in first with a break of 53,but it was Selby who,as has become his trademark,dug in to clear with a break of 64 for a 3-1 lead.That became 4-1 in a scrappy fifth before he sealed the win with a 72 in the last.
This is a win that confirms Selby will go into the Crucible as world no.1 and that is just reward for what he has achieved this season.The man who will hope to stop him also going there as China Open champion will be Shaun Murphy after he fought back to beat Jack Lisowki 5-4.
The wuestion coming in here was how would Lisowski handle the pressure of his first ranking quarter final,but he seemed to be up to the challenge as he took the opening frame with a run of 62 before Murphy leveled with a 137.Murphy edged ahead in the next courtesy of an outrageous fluke on the black that really has to be seen to believed,but Lisowski,again showing the fluency he has displayed all week,made it 2-2 at the interval with a 71 break.
Lisowski seemed to heading for his first ranking semi final as he stretched his lead to 4-2 but as we know by now,Murphy never gives up and helped by a young man now feeling the pressure of what he was on the verge of achieving,he fought back to level at 4-4. It was anyones game now but Lisowski was clearly feeling the pressure and failed to take some decent chances before the more experienced Murphy saw out the frame to win.
Lisowski will no doubt be feeling very disappointed at not getting the job done,but away from the heat of the battle he can look back on a big week in his snooker apprenticeship.I have no doubt he will be competing at this stage of events many times in the future.
The other semi final tomorrow will see Neil Robertson play Stephen Maguire after both came through the second set of quarter finals.
It is hard to believe,given his consistency this season that Robertson is yet to lift a ranking title this season,but that is the position the Aussie finds himself in here in the seasons penultimate tournament. This was a match that was never going to be a free flowing affair and when a long four frames left it 2-2 at the interval it looked as though we could be in for a long session.The frame immediately after the interval seemed to be confirming that as it stretched to over 45 minutes before Robertson won it.That seemed to free him up a bit as he moved 4-2 ahead with a 115 in the next.Campbell had his chances in the next to close the gap,but failed to take them and Robertson made the best of his chance to seal the 5-2 win.
His opponent tomorrow will be recent Welsh Open winner Stephen Maguire after he again defeated the man he had beaten in that finsa,Stuart Bingham in a match that never reached the standard they produced in Cardiff.
Maguire started well enough and went 3-0 ahead before Bingham got off the mark to make it 3-1.From here the match got a bit scrappy but it was Maguire who held it together the best to win 5-1.He talked afterwards about how rubbish he had played but the fact is,once you are still in the tournament you have the chance to improve.
A quality semi final line up then and reall no result would be a surprise with these four high quality and evenly match players.
I am going to put my neck on the line however and predict a Selby v Maguire final