Bahrain Championship Latest: Hendry into 82nd semi-final

This afternoon saw the first two quarter-finals of the day being completed, click below to read what happened…

Stephen Hendry 5-2 Robert Milkins

The resurgent Stephen Hendry continued his strong form this week with another good win over surprise quarter-finalist Robert Milkins today.

It was Milkins who was first out of the blocks as he made a sensational break of 137 to take the opening frame and get the match off to a great start. Getting in first in frame two, Robert then split the reds and looked to be well placed to make another big break, but having left a black slightly tricky, missed it into the corner pocket and left Hendry in.

From here it was Hendry’s turn to show how well he was playing and he did so with a century break of his own. In frame three it looked like Milkins had played a good, attacking safety shot as he left the cue ball tight on the baulk cushion, but Hendry as he so often does responded by potting a long red before going on to make yet another century, the 724th of his career. The break looked like ending on 106 as he left himself unable to pot the final red into the intended pocket, but he hit it wildy around the table and it went into the right centre off five cushions, allowing the break to go on to 132.

The final frame before the interval didn’t see four centuries from four, but it was Hendry who made a 50 break to take it, along with a 3-1 lead. Milkins was terribly unlucky though as firstly Hendry missed a red to the right-centre that came back off the far jaw and went straight into the yellow pocket, before he himself potted a lovely long red before going in-off in the opposite pocket. Hendry then knocked in a long red from this and that was it.

Things didn’t get any better after the interval as having tried and failed to hit the cue ball into the side of the pack of reds from baulk on two occasions, when he did pot a red he then attempted to snooker Hendry behind the brown, only to underhit the shot and find himself trying to get out of the snooker. Though he managed to do this, he left a red on and Hendry swept into a 4-1 lead with a 56 break.

Frame six was dramatic for different reasons as Milkins at one stage looked to be on for a 147, the second of his career. Following the ninth red however, he found himself snookered on all reds as the cue ball went on too far and finished above the pink. His 72 break did at least reduce his arrears to 4-2.

In frame seven though it was Hendry with the big break, but having allowed Milkins to get back to the table, for a moment it looked like it might not be enough. Unfortunately for Robert though, he missed a straightforward red to the pocket and that proved to be his final shot as Hendry completed a 5-2 win.

Stephen had a bit of luck in places but again he cued well and fully deserves to be in what is his 82nd career ranking event semi-final. He might not have had the most difficult draw in the world but his own form has been much improved this week and it is good to see him playing well again.

Matthew Stevens 5-2 Dominic Dale

In the semi-final he will meet Matthew Stevens who won his second all-Welsh clash in a row with victory over Dominic Dale this afternoon.

It was Dale who made the more impressive start as breaks of 39, 75 and 52 put him 2-0 up, but from then on it was all Stevens. He took the next two frames to send him into the interval level at 2-2 before taking the next three with some strong scoring of his own.

This is a timely run for Matthew because he is ranked provisionally outside of the top 32 at the moment, crazy for a player of his ability. He has admitted himself this week that he struggles to get himself up for the qualifiers at Prestatyn so having received automatic entry into the last 32 here it is good to see that he has taken full advantage of coming straight into the TV stages.

It won’t be easy against Hendry in the semi-final but I believe that it will be a very, very close match because put simply, Matthew knows how to beat Hendry. He is one of only three people to have beaten him twice at the Crucible, he has beaten him in a UK Championship final, a Northern Ireland Trophy final and ran him close a couple of years ago at the Wembley Masters. While Matthew’s form hasn’t been so strong recently, there is no way that he won’t be up for a ranking event semi-final in front of a packed crowd and it could be a classic match.

As for Dominic Dale, he will be disappointed to lose five frames in a row but having having received a bye into the quarters, perhaps he was a little cold as he has not played for a few days now. Either way he has secured 2,500 ranking points and will remain provisionally ranked inside the world’s top 32 for a while yet.


Stephen Hendry 5-2 Rob Milkins 0-137(137), 113(113)-13, 132(132)-0, 94(50)-0, 72(56)-10, 0-73(72), 73(62)-8
Matthew Stevens 5-2 Dominic Dale 0-114(39,75), 16-76(52), 81(81)-23, 71-29, 69(41)-18, 67-41, 99(52)-0