2015 China Open (Day 5) - Maflin and Ding land in semis

23:40:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Brilliant quarter-final matches here in Beijing as the fifth day of the 2015 China Open tournament has been completed, three out of four snooker meeting ending on deciders.

Also, just to spice things up a bit we had our shares of shocks as the reigning Masters champion Shaun Murphy suffered a tactical defeat in front of a very-well-prepared Kurt Maflin, while the John Higgins who just a day ago was crossing paths with Judd Trump and winning, got a very stingy treatment from defending champion Ding Junhui.

The match disputed by the two Ms (Murphy and Maflin) was a genuine clash of styles and characters so it was a real pleasure to watch.

Although "The Smurf" was the first one to get a feel of leadership and fly 3-1 up, his opponent wasn't going to stand by and watch him get away with it. So, with great breaks of 89 and 103 he levelled the match.

"Fair enough", seemed to say Murphy, "but now it's my turn" and with a 61 he re-gained control of the match.

However, Kurt didn't seem too preoccupied by the recent turn-of-tables and drew level with a solid break of 74 to which he added a 73 to make the scoreline go 5-4 in his favour, for a place in Saturday's semi-final.

Maflin described his win as being "fantastic" and a "real boost of confidence" especially in regard to the coming World Championship, but also because this season hasn't been the best for him.

The Englishman, now based in Norway, will meet Mark Selby in the semis, as the Leicester-man beat Robert Milkins 5-4.

Despite the fact that Selby's far from his best and especially since the horrible deja-vu in respect to his neck pains, the current German Masters champion still managed to overcome "The Milkman's" test.

Robert, who due to this defeats will have to qualify for the Sheffield-madness, was the "better player throughout the match" said Selby, and yet Mark made the impossible possible and won on a final 71-0 scoreline in the decider.

Ding Junhui, the defending champion that seems to be back on track, beat the man who stood up to a Trump-esque performance a day ago, John Higgins by 5-4 in order to keep the burning hope of retaining his home-title alive.

Higgins was the first one in with a break of 86, but Ding responded right away with runs of 50 and 35 to draw level.

At the mid-session interval the lads were all square at two-apiece and nothing seemed to be changing after that because they continued to share frames up until there were no more ... one more decider on today's menu!

Ding had a pretty good chance right from the start of the last frame, but missed a red down on 36, this letting the coast clear for his Scottish opponent. 

But when Higgins missed a red to the right centre pocket on 46, Ding's hopes were resurrected. 9 points later though, he was potting the cue ball.

Still, he was back at the table and this looked like the final touch. Oooops, wrong! A missed green was letting Higgins in! 

But the Welsh Open current champion missed the chance to clear for victory as he did against Trump and so Ding sealed a hard-fought victory with a smile.

His semi-final opponent will be Gary Wilson who obtained a very important victory of 5-3 in front of Barry Hawkins in order to qualify for his first major ranking semi-final.

Saturday's order of play:

7.30 am
Mark Selby v. Kurt Maflin

12.30 pm
Ding Junhui v. Gary Wilson

*all hours are UK time