The semifinals are played over four sessions, one table set up and a best of 33 frames format, first 8 frames of this match being scheduled to start tomorrow afternoon at 1 PM.
Anthony McGill and Shaun Murphy ended in a draw the opening session of their quarter-final, 4-4. Murphy opened with a pair of century breaks, 100 and 125, to fire himself into a 2-0 lead. McGill got himself on the board with a clearance of 37 to reduce the arrears to 2-1. After seeing his opponent move 3-1 ahead, McGill then registered three straight frames with breaks of 66, 89 and 65 to go ahead for the first time. Murphy took the final frame of the session to draw level. Glasgow’s player started the second session brilliantly with a 137 total clearance to go 5-4 ahead. The next lasted 45 minutes and Murphy eventually won it on the colours, before McGill regained the lead with a 36 clearance. Murphy then stepped up a gear and won four in a row with top breaks of 127 and 75, but McGill made an 86 in the last frame of the session to keep alive his hopes of continuing his brilliant run. Murphy hasn’t reached the semi-finals at the Crucible since 2009, but increased this year chances by ending the second session 9-7 up. McGill opened the final session with a break of 95, while Murphy hit back with a run of 72 to lead 10-8. Frame 19 lasted 40 minutes and proved the most important of the match. McGill had a chance to clear but missed the final green to a baulk corner, playing with the long rest. Murphy potted the green and later laid a snooker then added the brown to go three frames ahead. And he went on to win the next two with top runs of 49 and 67 to seal victory.
“It’s a massive deal for me to get to the semis, that’s what everyone who comes to this tournament wants to do, they want to play in that one table set-up. It has been hard for the last few years, having to go home at this stage and watch everyone else battle on for the tournament. This time I’m in it, I’m still punching and I can’t wait.”
Hawkins, a beaten finalist two years ago and a semi-finalist in 2014, took a 35 minutes opening frame on the colours, Robertson responded with breaks of 115 and 70 in winning three in a row. But the Australian failed to score a single point after the interval as world number five Hawkins reeled off four frames on the spin with top runs of 98 and 96. The Hawk took the first frame of the second session with a 108 century and won a scrappy frame to lead 7-3, but lost 5 out of remaining 6 frames as Neil made breaks of 65, 50, 130 and 141. It had always looked likely to go the distance as the pair resumed at 8-8, but Hawkins lay down a marker with breaks of 108 and 104 to go 10-8 ahead straight away. Robertson hit back with a 90, a 65 and a 142 to edge 11-10 ahead. Almost unbelievably, however, Hawkins countered with a 109 and a 76 to get within a frame of the final. Robertson pinched a 24th frame to force a decider, but Hawkins held his nerve after failing to make the first opening count, coming out of a lengthy safety exchange to win the decider with a break of 61 points. It was a match of rare quality that witnessed 8 centuries and other 3 breaks of 90 or above.
Hawkins said: “I’m so delighted to get through. I don’t know what it is about the Crucible, it just seems to bring the best out of me.”
H2H: Murphy 8-2
Prediction: Murphy to advance.
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