And then there were 4 after a day of hard matchplay snooker at the the International Championship in Daqing.
The first semi final tomorrow will see Thepcheaiya Un_Nooh face David Gilbert after both came through tough deciding frames to book their places in the last four.
Un-Nooh of course has been no stranger to deciders this week having played four of them already just to reach this stage and he showed what good form he was in,turning a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead. Mark Allen though is no pushover and pulled it back to level things up at 4-4.From here the standard upped another gears Un-Nooh knocked in a 99 break to go 5-4 only for a 114 from Allen made it 5-5.
Into that decider then and it was Un-Nooh who was always in control of it to run out the 6-5 winner.
Meanwhile on the other table David Gilbert was battling it out against the 2013 runner up Marco Fu.
This was a real high quality encounter with Fu looking in great touch as he opened up a 4-2 with the help of breaks of 66,72 & 89.Gilbert though is one of those players who has threatened for a long time to make a name for himself in the game and maybe now that time has come.He levelled things up here at 4-4 before a break of 130 put one away from the match at 5-4.Fu though levelled with a 78 to make it 5-5.
The decider here was a real nailbiter and looked to be going the way of Fu ,but Gilbert held his nerve to clear from the last two reds and seal the 6-5 victory on the black.
If the semi final line up in the top is a surprising one,there is something quite familiar about the two who will contest the one in the other half of the draw.
Mark Selby stayed in contention for the title with a 6-4 victory over Neil Robertson.
There is always a danger when these two hardened match players face each other that they may well cancel each other out and so it seemed today as both struggled to find any real fluency.The telling move in this came when Selby took three frames in a row to lead 4-2 and although Robertson knocked a 127 to get within one again at 5-4 ,Selby did enough to get over the line 6-4.
John Higgins seemed t be picking up where he left off yesterday against Murphy when he raced into a 4-0 lead early on here against Joe Perry.This was indeed a run of 15 consecutive frames over three matches from Higgins,but Perry stopped the rot taking the next and he gradually dragged himself back into it.
Higgins was now feeling the pressure ,but managed to pot a superb pink in frame nine and followed it with the black to seal a 6-3.
So now we are down to the final four we revert to a single table set up and that rarest of things in todays game,a best of 17 semi final.Lets savour a weekend of glorious snooker drama