2015 World Championship (Day 12) - Marching towards the semis

04:11:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

It seems almost unreal to write this, but it's true: Thursday marks the kick off to the semi-finals of the 2015 Betfred.com World Championship. 

12 days ago 32 players started their quest in order to find the Holy Grail of snooker, but now the task has come down to only four: Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy, Stuart Bingham and Barry Hawkins.

Judd Trump got off to a solid start against his rival Ding Junhui, ending their first session with a 6-2 lead, continuing with 12-4 and closing the deal with 13-4.

The last session lasted about 15 minutes, enough to permit the magnificent Bristolian lad to produce a 66 break and end Ding's hopes of a revival. Needless to say he's favourite for the title, right?

His semi-final opponent is none other than Stuart Bingham, the man to confronted the all-time-favourite for this title (and any others, for that matter), Ronnie O'Sullivan.

The players had two sessions this Wednesday and I must say the course of action was hard to predict.

After leading Ronnie 5-3 at the end of their first snooker encounter, Stuart only managed to win himself one single frame with a brilliant 145 clearance (to equal Neil Robertson's one) before all hell broke loose.

The Rocket started his counter attack and although it wasn't all century breaks and sunshine, it was solid and determined. And so the scoreline came down to 6-6.

Feeling a bit threatened Bingham restored his legacy with runs of 36 and 33, but Ron was sure to draw level once more with a great 103 break to which he added a 44 and a 38 to go 8-7 in front.

Still the session would end of a perfect 8-8, which basically tells the story of how things developed throughout the match. Until that precise moment that is.

When the ref announced the start of the last session O'Sullivan was up and about to get himself back into the leading position, but after that … he froze (or was froze?)

Bingham fired in breaks of 74, 82, 51, 85 and 60 to go on and win the battle 13-9. Total class!

The Magician Shaun Murphy has also booked himself a place in the semis after defeating probably one of the most brilliant Crucible-debutants in history, Anthony McGill 13-8.

After a pretty tight first session, ended on 4-4, the players shared frames up until 6-6. From this point on though, things got a bit out of hand especially for McGill.

A great 127 break, followed by 45, 35 and 75 were winning Shaun's no less than three consecutive frames, while the Scotsman could only grab the last of the session with a great 86 in order to trail 9-7.

When the match re-started a few hours later and Ants was the first one in with a great 95 break we all thought that this was going to go all the way, but unfortunately a few mistakes here and there, plus Shaun's great form and experience proved decisive.

A break of 72 was re-storing the two-frame gap, while runs of 34, 36, 49 and 68 helped Murphy cross the finish-line in style.

And this brings us to the final match of the day, the one that turned out to be a late-night drama, as some of us already expected: Barry Hawkins v. Neil Robertson.

The lads closed their first session with Barry holding the upper hand, 5-3 and the story seemed to continue in the same way for when they re-started the match the Englishman won the first two frames to go 7-3 up!

Robertson seemed to be lost in space, but still found the inner and outer and in-between force to fight back with runs of  50, 33, 36, 130 in order to level the match.

The last frame of the session (cut short) lasted about 65 minutes and it was one of those horrendous, ever-lasting, bore-me-to-death-with frames, which Barry finally took to start their last session with a slight advantage of 8-7.

But Robbo was sure to level the match with the first occasion that he got, a glorious 141 break taking care of that to which The Hawk responded with a set of marvellous breaks (108 and 104) to go 10-8.

Another furious break consisting of 90 points was going to win Robertson a frame, while a 65 restored the balance of the match.

And just because he can, Neil also added another century break (142) to take the lead, 11-10 (this was actually the second time of the match that he was in the leading position, last time being back when the scoreline was 3-1).

But Barry didn't panic! No siree! A break of 109 proved more than enough to draw level, while a 76 was restoring his dominance.

Robertson had work to do and the 24th frame stands proof as how difficult it was. Still, runs of 52 and 40 were forcing the much-needed decider which Hawkins took fair and square with a 61 break (final scoreline: 13-12).

So, here we are: four players, two semi-finals and only two spots to in the grand finals. Who is going to be? 

Shaun Murphy v. Barry Hawkins

Judd Trump v. Stuart Bingham

*all hours are UK time