Maplin Electronics UK Championship 2008: Carter hangs in there as vintage Williams finds top form

Wednesday already and the UK Championship really gets serious now with the first two quarter-finals being completed today. Click below to find out how the first session has gone…

Ali Carter 3-5 Mark Williams

Twice winner of the event Mark Williams secured a 5-3 lead going into tonight’s final session with Ali Carter after a thoroughly entertaining afternoon of snooker.

It was a high quality match and at the start it looked like Mark might run away with it as he appeared to be back to his magnificent best, making breaks of 56 and 41 to win the opener before a sublime 136 total clear

ance to move 2-0 ahead. Frame three on the other hand proved to be a more scrappy affair, but despite Ali ending a run of 74 pots without reply from Mark, it was the Welshman who edged it and moved 3-0 up.

With Mark threatening to race off though, Carter crucially got himself going with a 91 before the interval and with an excellent total clearance of 132 after the break, reduced his arrears to just a single frame. With the pot success statistics now at 90% and 92%, we really had a match on and it was now Mark’s turn to respond in style with a couple of top quality breaks to move three frames ahead again at 5-2.

Ali though importantly took the final frame of the session and given how brilliant Williams looked at times, will probably be quite happy to still be in touch at only 5-3 down. Fair play to him, to keep himself in the match there was a good effort and he at least is in with a shout tonight.

Mark though looked outstanding for long spells and produced the best session of snooker that I have seen from him in several years. Ali will be hoping that he won’t do the same again tonight.

Joe Perry 4-4 Marco Fu

After his outstanding performance last night to defeat Ronnie O’Sullivan, Joe Perry came back down to earth today against Marco Fu with a less than brilliant display, and will be relieved to get out level at 4-4.

Marco himself did not play outstandingly well, but breaks of 44, 67 and 55 helped him on the way to an early 2-0 lead. Joe managed to respond well with 47 and 36 to level things back up at the interval. When play resumed they continued to trade frames and with Joe taking the last with his highest break of the session (a relatively mere 59), he will be hoping to come out and play better tonight.

Commentators Willie Thorne and John Virgo made the point that both appeared to come out wanting not to lose rather than trying to win and you could defnitely see where they were coming from. Has the makings of a close one…