Mark King hasn’t appeared in a ranking tournament semi-final since the 2006 Grand Prix but his dogged, determined style has paid dividends at the Shanghai Masters this week.
He kept his head yesterday while Anthony Hamilton lost his, clashing with a TV cameramen as King beat him 5-2.
It’s seven years since King reached his second ranking event final at the 2004 Irish Masters, which was seven years after his first at the 1997 Welsh Open.
He has beaten his opponent today, Mark Selby, at the 2008 World Championship and in last season’s Masters.
Selby will start favourite but like all the players this week has been affected by the sticky conditions that has made fluency difficult.
Nevertheless, his recovery from 4-2 down to Shaun Murphy yesterday was a trademark demonstration of his poise under pressure, growing stronger as the pressure came on and finishing off with a century.
Neil Robertson looked really up for his match with John Higgins and the Australian impressed with his general attitude and performance.
Higgins was loose, though, and his safety game wasn’t as strong as normal. China, for whatever reason, just doesn’t seem to inspire him.
Mark Williams has coasted through for the loss of only one frame but is yet to be put under any real pressure.
Robertson will do that for sure, but Williams has plenty left in the tank.