The odds on favourite for the title here is still Ronnie O'Sullivan,but boy was he made to work today by the rising star of Scottish snooker Anthony McGill.
For all the talk of his ankle injury and of course the brilliant maximum to finish the match last night,one thing that seems to have gone unnoticed is the fact that Ronnie has not been as quick out the gates here this week as he normally is and that was again the case here as McGill took the opening two frames to lead 2-0. That lead could really have been 3-0 but Ronnie dug in to make it 2-1 and produced a lovely break of 98 to make it 2-2 at the interval.A 125 from Ronnie when they resumed put him ahead for the first time at 3-2,but McGill won the next to level things again at 3-
The next two frames were quite extraordinary with both going to the colours and both looking to be heading to McGill only for him to be stopped in his tracks by inexplicable misses on the yellow & green respectively,allowing Ronnie to pinch both and go within one of victory at 5-3.
It is then to his immense credit that McGill managed to produce his highest break of the match in the next,a 103 to close within one again at 5-4. Any thoughts though of this going to a decider were quenched in the next when Ronnie potted a remarkable red to the middle with the white tight on the black cushion and he knocked in a break of 97 to clinch his place in the semi final.
There he will face the man who beat him here in the quarter final last year Stuart Bingham after he completed a stunning comeback to beat Graeme Dott 6-5.This really was a match of two halves,with Dott,as he did against Robertson, flying out of the blocks to lead 4-1.
A close sixth went to Bingham to reduce his arrears to 4-2 and he followed that with a run of 108 to make it 4-3.Dott opened his two frame lead again to go 5-3,but from here Bingham produced his best snooker of the match to level at 5-5,before clinching the decider with another century,this time a run of 103.
Into the evening session and after his slog against Rod Lawler yesterday Judd Trump was in no mood to hang around,beating \Mark Davis 6-1 in around 90 minutes. This one could have been a lot closer had Davis made the most of some early chances but he didn't and Trump will be delighted with his nights work despite letting a good chance for a maximum slip in the last frame.
Trump has hardly had to break sweat this week to reach this stage,but you would be surprised if that was the case in his semi final clash with Stephen Maguire after the Scot finally saw off the challenge of Marco Fu to reach this stage.
Maguire started the better in this one enjoying a 3-1 lead to the interval,He extended that to 4-1 taking the next,but Fu has always been a dogged competitor and started to claw his way back,taking the next two.to close within one at 4-3. Things were now getting tense,but Maguire did enough to take it to go 5-3.He had a chance to win the next,but the fluency he had shown earlier was starting to desert him now and Fu closed to 5-4.
This was by now turning into a real slog,but Maguire held his nerve to pot the balls he needed to go through 6-4.
Two fascinating semi final encounters in store tomorrow then O'Sullivan v Bingham first up in the afternoon and Trump v Maguire tomorrow night. Lets hope for more drama & quaitiy.