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Friday, 4 December 2015

UK Championship Quarter Finals Round up.

After the most thrilling day of the championship so far four men remain in the hunt to be the 2015 UK champion.

Arguably the best two performers this week have been Neil Robertson & John Higgins,so it was in many ways a pity that they had to meet at the last 8 stage,but this did however leave us with the possibility of a classic Friday afternoon encounter and for once we were not to be disappointed.

The scene was set for this one straight from the off as Higgins flew out of the block with a run of 119 to take the opening frame.This was deja vu for Robertson,who also lost the opening frame of his previous match to a century only to find his scoring boots and pull away.It looked as though the same thing was going to happen here as he took the next three to the interval with some more stylish break building.

This continued on their resumption as he extended his lead to 4-1. Things were now looking ominous for Higgins,but he hasn't done all he's done in the game by rolling over and back he came with runs of 69 & 134 to close to 4-3.Robertson claimed the next to move within one of victory,but back cam Higgins again,this time with breaks of 134 & 66 to force the decider this one deserved.

Into that decider then & it was a strange frame with Robertson missing more than he has in two days,but only ever leaving Higgins half chances.By the time Higgins knocked in a great long red Robertson had built a 55 point lead & when Higgins got a suspected kick on a green to the centre pocket it left it open for Robertson to seal the 6-5 win,which he duly did.

Robertson will now face Mark Selby in tomorrows semi final,after the world no.1 booked his place there with the minimum of fuss,beating Matt Selt. This was not Selby at his absolute best,but in truth it never needed to he ran out a comfortable 6-1 winner.

In the top half of the draw and one of the stories of recent times in the sport continues to build as David Graces fairytale run has now carried him into a first ranking semi final.

That looked long odds against for much of this evening as Martin Gould played some beautiful snooker to build a 5-1 lead,but then the unbelievable happened,Grace started to drag his way back into it and as we have seen at times over the years Goulds suspect chin began to give way.So back to 5-5 this one was to go to give us the most dramatic of deciders.

Grace got in first to build a 61 point lead,but a missed match ball red allowed Gould to counter.The pivotal moment was to come on the last red though when having had seven misses called the ref deemed Graces eighth attempt to be have been close enough to not warrant the ball been replaced. This was a big call from the ref and to Goulds credit he didn't question it.

Gould did get one more chance,but failed to chip the black into the centre pocket & Grace got the balls he needed to pull of the most extraordinary comeback.

In the semi finals he will play Liang Wenbo,brushed aside the controversial comments made by his opponent last night to reach the last four with a 6-5 win over his good friend Marco Fu.

In what can only be put down to the sourest of grapes Tom Ford was scathing in his criticism of Liang after last nights encounter & his branding of the Chinese player as "boring" was well and truly shown up for what it was as Liang flew out the traps today,taking a 3-0 lead with breaks of 106,132 & 138.This was a phenomenal standard and although Fu stopped the rot,he could do no better than share the next four to leave it 5-2.

Liang was now just one frame from a place in the semi final ,but having shown himself to be the king of the comeback this week,today he had to experience that from the other chair as Fu fought back to level at 5-5.

Another decider then and both players had their chances,but it was Liang who held his nerve the better to claim a 6-5 victory.

So what a day of action and it continues tomorrow with first up in the afternoon David Grace v Liang Wenbo & in the evening those two modern men of granite Neil Robertson & Mark Selby all battling it out for a place in Sundays final.

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