2016 World Championship (Day 12) - The road to semis

12:37:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

It's been one hell of a journey for the 32 players that started on 16th of April their quest for a place in the latest stages of the 2016 World Championship, but only four of them prevailed: Ding Junhui, Mark Selby, Marco Fu and Alan McManus.

Not your usual line-up for this kind of competition, but who says it has to be predictable? The quarter-finals matches have been a tremendous display of skills and stamina and we wouldn't want it any other way, would we?

The first one to get pass the QFs line was Ding Junhui, who obtained a 13-3 victory over Mark Williams, whose last-minute cue-tip change influenced his performance in the match. More on this here.

Mark Selby got his chance to relive the awesomeness of reaching the latest stages of the World Championship after he beat Kyren Wilson 13-8.

Selby led 6-2 and 10-6 and started the last session by taking the first two frames with breaks of 92 and 78 before his opponent put up resistance and took the following two with a beautiful 143 clearance.

Still, it was a long way back, so the 2014 world champion closed the deal with a 64 break to book his semis place.

NOTE for the Romanian fans : Mark Selby will be coming to Romania on 22nd of May along with Judd Trump and Neil Robertson as part of the Best of Snooker series. More info on this after the World Championship, so stay tuned.

Alan McManus was the next to reach the semis stage, after a wonderful 13-11 victory over fellow countryman and four-time world champion John Higgins.

Although McManus was led 5-3 and 9-7 and Higgins hit two solid breaks of 53 and 69 at the beginning of the last session, "Mr Angles" didn't give in and continued his superb display of snooker skills.

Two breaks of 44 and 88 were helping him pull back two consecutive frames in order to reduce his deficit at just two points 11-9, while a strategically built set of breaks like 71, 52 and 128 were taking him one step away from the finish-line. Which he crossed minutes later with a top break of 60.

In the press conference after the match, Higgins said: “I’m gutted obviously. The Crucible brings intense pressure, I cracked and Alan didn’t. I’ve nothing but admiration for him, he probably played his best stuff at the end. I missed a couple of shocking balls, that’s what this place can do to you."

McManus, who had to wait for no less than 23 years to reach the semi-finals of the World Championship added: "I never thought my best days were completely gone, I’m still pretty dedicated to the game and I love playing in big arenas. Some players play awesome with no eyes on them, I prefer eyes and scrutiny, and this is a special place."

"At one stage this morning the wall went up and I went and stood against the other table. It was like a church out there, the place was jam packed and I felt dead happy. No one knows when these days might come again, I enjoy these bricks and this building."

Yesterday ended ... actually it ended today (depending on your time-zone :-P) with the clash between Marco Fu and the man who sent "The Rocket" home, Barry Hawkins.

Fu proved extremely determined to reach the semis right from the beginning of the match, his lead of 7-1 proving deadly for his opponent. Especially when, at the start of the second session he extended it at 9-1.

Still, Hawkins managed to pull back two consecutive frames with a top break of 86 before the Hong Kong cue-man could add one more to his collection thanks to a century break of 136 points.

The remaining two frames of the session entered Hawkins's pocket and so, the scoreline began to look more balanced as the Englishman was trailing now 10-6.

The evening session concluded with Hawkins revival, breaks of 50, 75 and 85 helping him win three frames on a row! Was this a comeback?

Fu didn't think so and answered with runs of 50 and 93 to move one away from a place in the next round, 12-9.

A genuine thriller - that's how frame 20 could be described, Barry taking it on the black to prolong the suspense and adding a break of 80 to keep the hope alive.

This time though, Marco proved ruthless and a break of 74 was closing the deal at 13-11. The player from Hong Kong was booking his place in the semi-final where he'll meet Mark Selby.

After the match, Hawkins stated: "After Marco missed chances to win the match, I thought if I could get going I fancied winning. The first session cost me, it was too much of a mountain to climb after that."

Fu added: "At 12-9 I was one or two shots away from winning the match, but I just couldn’t pot the last ball. Some of the shots I played were horrendous. I wasn’t only missing, I was choosing the wrong shots because the pressure makes you think silly."

"When I look back at the video I’m sure I’ll be disgusted, I almost threw it away."

So this is it: while a battle ends, another one begins and this one is even tougher, because it's for a place in the Grand Final.

Nothing more to add here, other than CUE THE ACTION!

Day 13 of World Championship match schedule (aka. the semi-finals):

Alan McManus v Ding Junhui

Marco Fu v Mark Selby

Photos credit: World Snooker