Day 5 at The Masters and yet again proof if proof were needed as to just how unpredicatable this game can be.
After everything we had seen from Ronnie in his first round match here,it was no surprise that he started a warm favourite against Mark Allen this afternoon and although it was expected that the Ulsterman would put up more resistance that Fu had on Tuesday,most expected Ronnie's quest for an eighth title here to continue without much hassle.Allen though had not read the script.
The first frame saw both players have their chances,but a run of 75 saw it go to Ronnie.Allen though showed in his own first round victory over Brecel that,given his chance,he was also in fine stroke & a 65 quickly drew him level at 1-1.
Allen was now fully settled and he hit Ronnie again in the next with a 115 & followed it an 85 to lead 3-1 a the interval.
Ronnie,it must be said was certainly looking a little under the weather here and he certainly was getting plenty of time in his chair to think about it as an 81 moved Allen 4-1 ahead.
This was now a full blown crisis for "the Rocket" and for once his game just wasn't there to respond as the score moved to 5-1.From here he didn't have to wait too long to be put out of his misery as Allen claimed the next to seal a famous 6-1 victory
Into the night then and another of the games legends,Mark Williams was also hoping to build on an impressive first round victory over Mark Selby,against his young opponent Kyren Wilson
It is of course 20 years now since perhaps the most famous Masters final of all when a fresh faced Williams beat Stephen Hendry on a respotted black and I suppose the main difference between the Williams of then and now is that now he can have an odd day when he goes to the well and finds nothing.Today was one of those days.
This was a scrappy match from the start,but it Wilson who was potting the balls that mattered as he moved clear at 4-0 to the interval.When they resumed Williams did scrape a frame,but by then a 63 had already seen Wilson get to within one of victory & he secured his semi final spot in the next with a 76.
So not the winners today that we were expecting,but it certainly leaves the tournament wide open and no doubt Shaun Murphy & Judd \Trump who meet in the afternoon & John Higgins & Ryan Day who play tomorrow night will all now be fancying their chances of claiming the title here on Sunday.Things just got a whole lot more interesting!