For all the talk of withdrawals and non-entries, the cream has risen to the top in Bahrain.

The semi-final line-up is brimming with quality, although interestingly it features four players who were in no sort of form before the event began.

Stephen Hendry has been consistently impressive here – a stark contrast to his form in the first three ranking events of the season.

Matthew Stevens has won eight of his 19 meetings with the seven times world champion – a pretty good record – including two finals, the 2003 UK Championship and 2005 Northern Ireland Trophy.

How nice it is to see this talented Welshman playing so well again. I had questioned whether he could bounce back and here is the answer.

Neil Robertson impressed me against Stephen Maguire yesterday. The key frame was the fourth. Maguire had just made breaks of 122 and 81 and was starting to get on top.

Robertson, though, responded with a run of 75 and did not lose another frame.

The Aussie is through to only the third ranking event semi-final of his career. He won the other two and went on to be crowned Grand Prix and Welsh Open champion.

However, Robertson will have his work cut out against Mark Allen, who hit three centuries during his 5-2 defeat of Barry Hawkins in their quarter-final.

I expect Allen to win a ranking title sooner rather than later.
We haven’t seen him yet on the TV table in Bahrain but I’m looking forward to his semi-final, indeed both semi-finals.

Whatever the gripes and problems in snooker, the game itself remains as fascinating as ever.


Anonymous said...

Really looking forward to the semis, especially the Roberston/Allen match.

Dave, I wonder if you could elaborate on why press relations with the WSA have deteriorated, as you mentioned in one of the earlier posts.

Cheers John.

Dave H said...

I will do shortly, John, but it'll take a while to explain

Matt@PSB said...

The semis should be great, first time in a long while that he have had four semi-finalists and you would not be surprised at any combination of winners. Wouldn't want to bet on them put it that way.

My heart says a Hendry v Robertson final but I just have a feeling that Stevens is going to pull something special out today. This could be Allen's time to shine too, I do think that he could take a title this season and he has a great chance here.

Anonymous said...

Hendry has reverted to his form of the last few years in the first session.It's a shame but he's showing why he'll never win another ranking event.

andy said...

Stevens seems to have decided that he fancies getting back into the top 16 again and that maybe he fancies winning a title again.

Watching him play this week, it has to be said that he still looks top quality.

It does make you wonder what he's been doing for the last couple of years, ...oh yeah, earning more money playing poker! Can you blame him!? :o)


Anonymous said...

Stevens has never been consistent so his "form" over the last few seasons isn't that much of a surprise.
This is turning out to be one of the worst semi finals ever.
It'll be great to see one of these two in a final again but whoever wins better play much better in the final or they will get thrashed.

andy said...

I never in a million years thought we'd see Stevens in a ranking final this season, even with the absentees, ...just goes to show, you just never know with talent!! :o)


RichP said...

I'm not sure about talent today Andy, Stevens was gifted a place in the final. Can't understand what happened to Hendry today after playing so well prior to that match.

kimball said...

That,s snooker.
A gripping semifinal, tension , flukes and Stohens held his bottle.

Sorry for Hendry though, I think the tought of winning the tournament unbalanced him.
End of quarterfinal showed tensness too.

Matt@PSB said...

Disappointing today from Stephen, just didn't turn up for whatever reason. Guess that happens with him now though, can be so inconsistent from one match to the next.

Fair play to Stevens, he started well and though he went downhill with Hendry, he deserved to go through.

Anonymous said...

Hope you dont mind me asking but where do the Eurosport commentary based? Is it always done in some studio in the UK watching a TV, or do you always/sometimes go to wherever the event is being held including overseas?

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean fellow anon - it always seems they are commentating watching tv because if a player is blocking a shot or the camera panning elsewhere they have to wait to tell us if a ball is on or not.

Matt@PSB said...

It's in London near Heathrow isn't it?

Anonymous said...

no word on this?