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Thursday, 14 January 2016

The Master Day Five

There is nothing that captures a sporting publics imagination quite like a rivalry between two top players with completely clashing styles and if you can add to that a little needle,you have the recipe for sporting gold.

That is the reason that even after thirty years the BBC still saw enough in the Davis v Higgins battles of the early 80's to warrant the commissioning of a new drama about it and its the reason that the Ally Pally was packed to the rafters today for its modern day version ,as Ronnie O'Sullivan faced off against Mark Selby.

The last time these two had met was in the 2014 world final,when Selby came back to beat Ronnie and lift his first world crown.It could be argued that O'Sullivan has never fully recovered from that defeat so todays match up was always going to be a big occasion.

Early on here and despite a couple of 50 plus contributions both looked to be struggling to fully settle as they shared the opening two frames to leave it 1-1.From here though it was Ronnie who stepped it up with runs of 69,54 & 58 to go to the interval leading 3-1.

On resumption a 61 from Selby narrowed the gap to 3-2 before a quickfire 100 from Ronnie restored his two frame cushion at 4-2.

The next was the longest frame of the match as things got a bit scrappy,but it was eventually decided when Ronnie,with what was perhaps the most impressive part of his game today,knocked in another superb long red to go to the hill at 5-2.

The one thing we all know about Selby,and Ronnie  more than most,is that the Leicesterman never gives up and he pulled the next back with  68 to close to 5-3.

That comeback seemed to gathering yet more momentum as he was first in with 70 in the next,but Ronnie was not to be denied as he cleared with a magnificent 73 to clinch the frame and match 6-3.

He now awaits a semi final clash with either his old rival John Higgins or the world champ Stuart Bingham and whichever it is we're surely in for another thriller.

Into the night session then and here we saw Barry Hawkins take on Mark Allen.

Allen,who beat the defending champion Shaun Murphy in the last round,got off to the perfect start here with a century to take the opening frame,but that was as good as it got for him early on as Hawkins hit back to win the next three to lead 3-1 at the interval.

Hawkins was looking more comfortable with every shot now and also took the next to lead 4-1.

From here Hawkins did show signs of a slight wobble,but Allen simply wasn't playing well enough to capitalize and although he pulled one back Hawkins ran out a comfortable 6-2 winner.

Tomorrow see's the remaining quarter finals taking place with another mouthwatering afternoon clash,with perhaps a little needle, as Neil Robertson faces Judd Trump and in the evening John Higgins facing Stuart Bingham

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