We were reminded last night as to why best of 17s have been so popular.

The standard of the Judd Trump-Neil Robertson semi-final wasn't always the highest but the drama quotient was off the scale.

Credit to Trump for his bottle in the last frame as he avoided a doubtlessly nervy decider. I'm not sure if this was naughty snooker but it was certainly entertaining, not least because the length of match allowed the drama to build through the day.

Today's semi-final pits Mark Allen against Ricky Walden.

Allen is appearing in his sixth ranking event semi and is still yet to win one. Walden is through to his first major semi-final since he won the 2008 Shanghai Masters.

It seems to me Ricky plays better against top players, possibly because he knows that he has to.

When he won in Shanghai he beat Stephen Hendry, Robertson, Steve Davis, Mark Selby and Ronnie O'Sullivan.

This week he has already done for Stephen Lee, Mark Williams and Shaun Murphy and has at times cued superbly.

Confidence is obviously a very important component in snooker. Walden has been in a PTC final, made a 147 and generally grafted out some encouraging results below the radar. He has brought these positives to York.

Allen won everything he could as an amateur and I've never been in any doubt that he will be a winner of major titles as a professional.

He possesses great talent but also great heart. He's a fighter and it's surely only a matter of time before he breaks his semi-final hoodoo.

I think this could be another close match. I hope so. We've seen a terrific tournament already and it deserves an exciting denouement.

No comments: