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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

World Championship Day Four

Another day and another seed crashes out of the 2014 dafabet World Championship as four times champ John Higgins exited the tournament at the hands of fellow Scot and great friend Alan McManus.

McManus,having seen the late rally from Higgins yesterday afternoon that reduced his arrears from 6-1 to 6-3,would have been fully aware of the need to stamp his authority on this one again as they started out today and helped by some poor play from Higgins,thats what he did as he extended his lead to 8-3.Higgins won the next,but McManus moved to within one of victory,taking the last before the interval to lead 9-4.

It was at this stage though,that perhaps with a"nothing to lose" mentality that Higgins started to cue really well.he won the 14th with a 111 & when McManus ran out of position in the next he pounced again to make it 9-6. That became 9-7 with a 94 in 16th frame and suddenly a comeback which looked so unlikely a short time before was now most certainly on.

Into a tense 17th frame we went and after both player had had good early chances It looked McManus's for the taking until he missed the final red. This gave Higgins the chance to get another one on the board ,but when he overcooked a cut blue to the middle,McManus wasn't to let this chance slip and he cleared to record a famous 10-7 win.

For Higgins,this was more disappointment,but like all  his performances in the second half of this season there were enough glimpses of form to say if he can pull it together a little more consistently,he can still challenge for titles.McManus on the other hand can look forward to a second round clash with fellow veteran  Ken Doherty

In the other match that finished today Ricky Walden eventually saw off the challenge of Kyren Wilson 10-7 in a long mentally exhausting encounter.Walden,who lead 6-3 overnight extended that lead to 8-4 before Wilson staged a comeback to pull it back to 8-7.Walden was now visibly feeling it,but he eventually won the next to go 9-7.Both players were almost out on their feet at this stage and as the 17th frame turned into a comedy of errors lasting 73 minutes it was Walden who,despite having failed on several occasions to kill it off,eventually potted match ball yellow to collapse over the line.

When the draw was made one match that people a mark beside for its shock potential was the clash between Marco Fu & Martin Gould,but it is the man from Hong Kong who holds sway after their first session this morning. Fu was quick out of the traps in here to lead 2-0 & 4-1 before Gould rallied to close to 4-3. From here Fu pulled away again though and took the last two frames to take a 6-3 overnight lead.

Judd Trump started his campaign for a first world title this afternoon and I think its fair to say that if this is to be his year,he'll have to improve on what we saw this afternoon in a long error strewn session with Tom Ford.So slow was progress in this one that it had to be called ashore a frame early with Trump leading 6-2.
They play to a finish in the morning.

On the other table,last years runner up here Barry Hawkins also made a slowish start.but found his scoring boots late on to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 end of session lead over David Gilbert

Mark Allen will take a 5-4 lead into tomorrow after a mixed first session with Michael Holt where the story was more of frames been lost from the jaws of victory rather than of high quality snooker. That said Allen will be happy to hold that lead having gifted two consecutive frames to Holt to trail 4-3 before Holt returned the favour in the next to leave it 4-4.Allen then won the last to hold the slenderest of leads overnight.

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