For a second night running the Bendigo crowd were treated to some great entertainment as Mark Williams showed just why he is world no.1 with the way he finished off against Dominic Dale.
Displaying a trademark steely nerve, Williams drew level at 4-4 before compiling a 142 total clearance in the decider, his third century of the match.
Floating around the table as if he was down the club, Williams provided a masterclass in how to hold your nerve in a high pressure situation.
Dale had won his own thriller against Neil Robertson on Thursday and couldn’t have done much more to get himself into the semis.
Williams really is as he seems: laconic, carefree and composed, but you don’t get to the top of the world in your chosen sport without also possessing an iron will to win.
He’s the favourite to land the title this weekend.
Shaun Murphy stuttered a little before playing a good final frame to put away Matt Selt 5-3.
Selt fell 3-0 adrift but produced a 137 total clearance in the fourth frame and fought well before Murphy’s class told.
Stuart Bingham won the ‘grudge match’ with Mark Allen, who ill advisedly repeated his attack on the Basildon man afterwards rather than choosing contrition.
Allen’s comments only make himself look bad, not Bingham. Indeed, they backfired in a pretty big way as Bingham showed plenty of bottle, making back-to-back centuries and finishing off with a 96.
As I wrote yesterday, I defend the players for speaking their minds but that doesn’t mean you have to agree with what they say.
Not that Stuart could care less. He’s through to his first ranking event semi-final, a reward for a good guy who loves his snooker and has always made an effort to find tournaments to play in, big and small.
This one is pretty big and he has every reason to feel confident ahead of his clash with Murphy.
Meanwhile Ken Doherty’s resurgence continues with his 5-3 defeat of Mark Selby. This vein of good form is somewhat unexpected given that Doherty struggled at the World Cup.
But it’s good to see because Ken is another of snooker’s good guys, someone who has put in many years of service, and not just playing. He’s a fine ambassador for the sport and it didn’t surprise me that he apologised in public for his comments about Liang Wenbo last week, which stemmed from the disappointment of defeat.
Doherty knows Williams will be a handful in the semis because he always has been but I’m sure he’s just delighted to be through to the last four of a ranking event for the first time since the 2006 China Open.