First up was the clash between Shaun Murphy and Marco Fu.This was a typical match of two halves with Marco seemingly in control early on as he took leads of 3-0 & 4-1.It must be said it wasn't that Murphy didn't have his chances in these frames,he did,he just never looked like taking them as time and again he broke down allowing Fu to mop up.
So what then changed? Well quite simply Murphy started scoring & Fu's long potting which had been suspect early on,deserted him completely,thus draining him of any confidence he had.
Breaks of 86,81 & 117 saw Murphy draw level at 4-4 and although the next could have gone either way it also went to Murphy on the black,meaning he had won four frames in a row to now stand within one of victory.The end came in the next as he clinched his place in the semi's with a run of 64 to complete a 6-4 win.
His opponent in that semi final will be Mark Selby after he came through one of the most dramatic and thrilling matches we have seen in a long time.
This one always promised to be an epic regardless of the quality of play simply because in Selby & Higgins we have two of the toughest competitors the game has ever seen and so it proved to be.
So much happened later on its easy to forget the early part of this one,but it was Higgins who go off to the better start winning the opening frame.He also had his chances in the next couple as well but failed to take them and it was Selby who went to the mid session interval leading 3-1.
Selby had Higgins right under it at this stag, but uncharacteristically,he didn't press home the advantage and Higgins visibly grew in confidence to firstly draw level at 3-3 and then to move into a 5-3 lead.
After a string of poor results a morale boosting win for Higgins over the defending champion now looked on the cards ,but as we know by now,you write off Mark Selby in these situations at your pearl.
He won the next convincingly to make it 5-4 before things really started to heat up in a dramatic tenth,With the scores close and the frame down to the colours we had an extraordinary run of shots which firstly saw Higgins got a massive kick on the green- Selby then missing his own attempt at it-Higgins returning to the table to pot it only to then miss the brown-which gifted Selby his chance to clear to the pink & bring the score to 5-5.
If we thought that was dramatic enough it was nothing to what we were to get in a decider which had everything from,great pots,to great safety,to kicks, to in off's and eventually once again a battle on the colours,The magic moment came with Selby at the table and the scores level at 69-69 It was here the Leicesterman produced a stunning back double on the blue to the centre pocket and then clipped the pink in to add another astonishing final frame victory to his growing Masters catalogue.
For Higgins this us a defeat that will be hard to take.He may look at a couple of bad kicks at the worst possible times but he will also know the chances were there and he just didn't take them.He will also know that tie is now starting to turn against him,in the fight to add more of the sports major titles to his impressive career cv.Hopefully he can in time see some positives because a Higgins competing for titles has always been a joy to watch.
As for Selby you really can do nothing else but sit back and admire his never say die attitude.Here he once again lived up to his billing as the master of brinkmanship,to once agian snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.He is a credit to our sport and it would be no surprise now to see him hold aloft the Masters trophy for a fourth time on Sunday night.