Four men remain in the hunt to be crowned UK champion this Sunday after a day of high drama at the Barbican Centre yesterday.
Stuart Bingham showed once again that he is someone we have to take seriously when it comes to challenging for the games big titles with a thrilling 6-4 win over Ronnie O'Sullivan. Coming in to any match with Ronnie the most important thing any player can do is get off to a good start an that is exactly what Stuart did taking the opening two frames and then going interval with a 3-1 lead.
He extended that lead to 4-1 before the inevitable O'Sullivan fightback begun.Two qucikfire frames saw him close the gap to just one at 4-3 Bingham was starting to show a few signs of nerves at this stage but held himself together well to move to the brink at 5-3.Ronnie wasn't finished yet as another century closed to 5-4 ,but Bingham had enough in the tank to seal the win in the next and record a famous 6-4 win.
This was only the second time Bingham has beaten Ronnie and he fully deserved this win.As is the case though when you reach the semi finals of such an event as this,the task doesn't get any easier and he now faces.perhaps the player of the tournament so far,Neil Robertson
Robertson was again in supreme form as he raced to a 4-0 lead over Stephen Maguire.The Scot to be fair to him wasn't enjoying the best run of the ball,but managed to at least stop the rot winning the next to trail 4-1.The next two frames were shared before Robertson sealed his place in the semi final wining in the end 6-2.
Now we are at the semi final stage f course the matches revert to best of 17 and I think that will be significant factor in the outcome of this one.As well as Bingham did yesterday to hold off Ronnie,I just don't see him been able to sustain that over two sessions against Robertson and I expect the Aussie to win this score prediction Robertson 9 -5 Bingham
On the other side of the draw Mark Selby remained on course to become only the third player in the games history to successfully defend this title in a real late night thriller with Barry Hawkins.
Selby won the opening frame in this one,but it was Hawkins,who has a good recent record against Selby who took the next three to go to the interval leading 3-1.Hawkins.The following two frames were shared before a key moment in the next.Hawkins looked like going 5-2 up but a missed red allowed Selby to do what Selby does as he cleared up to make it 4-3.Hawkins to his credit,managed to refocus taking the next to lead 5-3.
Selby though has not achieved the success he has had in recent years purely by playing quality snooker.but also because he has a never say die attitude which means he is never beaten until the final ball is potted.He showed that here once again,as he won the next two to level at 5-5 and force the decider.That decider was a long 50 minute affair which Selby always seemed in control of.That said there threatened to one last sting in the tail as Selby failed to get out of a snooker and left a free ball,that if converted would have allowed Hawkins to win but he missed his nominated pink and it a few shots later it was all over.Selby winning 6-5
His semi final opponent will be Ricky Walden who beat Mark Allen a a one sided match 6-2.The first two frames were shared in this one before Walden moved in to a 3-1 lead .Allen was clearly out of sorts and it emerged at the interval that he had discover problems with the ferrule just before the match.Some more running repairs delayed the resumption of play but he still could never get going and Walden quickly put this one to bed to book his semi final place.
This semi final has the look of one that could develop in to one of those close late night encounters.Walden has played some very good snooker here this week and whereas Selby has not been at his supreme best he will be hard to beat at this stage of the tournament.For that reason I think Selby will edge this one
score prediction Selby 9-7 Walden
We are now down to a one table with the first of semi finals between Bingham & Robertson taking place today and the other tomorrow,A great weekend of snooker awaits.