Maplin Electronics UK Championship 2008: Cruel kick denies Williams as Captain Carter cruises into semi-finals

Click below to find out how the first two quarter-finals of the UK Championship unfolded tonight…

Ali Carter 9-8 Mark Williams

Much like the match between Joe Perry and Ronnie O’Sullivan last night, I just wondered whether Ali taking the last frame of the afternoon session would prove to be key and it did indeed as Mark struggled to find his form early on tonight. With breaks of 74, 68 and 33 to win three of the first four frames and level things up at 6-6.

Though Mark was not playing as well as this afternoon, he went back into the lead again at 7-6, but a fabulous clearance from Ali to snatch the next on the black seemed to really give him confidence and he duly went into the lead for the first time in the entire match at 8-7.

Mark is a class act however and for a while looked like he might respond in the best possible fashion by making a 147 break in the 18th frame. Though it was not to be, he did enough to win the frame in one visit and take us to a deciding frame, something that looked unlike earlier on at 3-0.

He carried on where he left off with a terrific long red but he had to settle for putting Ali into a nasty snooker behind the green as the chance broke down. What happened next though was very cruel for Mark as having seen Ali make a total mess of attempting to escape from the snooker and leave Mark right in amongst the balls, the Welshman suffered a horrendous kick on his intended red to the right-centre and this turned out to be his last shot. Ali came to the table and held himself together well to make a break of 91 to book a place in the semis.

It is a great win for Ali, particularly given how Mark started the match, potting 74 balls without reply and going 3-0 up. You have to feel sorry for Mark Williams though, who probably played his best snooker in a few years today and was robbed by something totally beyond his control. What is worse is that his next match won’t be until the middle of February in the Welsh Open, so his good form might be gone by then…

Joe Perry 7-9 Marco Fu

Marco Fu booked his place in the semi-finals of the UK Championship for the first time with an excellent win over Joe Perry tonight.

Much like in the afternoon session, Joe never really looked like the player he did yesterday and Marco hit breaks of  62, 70 and 55 to lead 7-5 at the interval. When this became 8-5 with an 85 break and Marco motored on in frame 14, it looked like it was all going to be over but a dreadful miss on the red gave Perry a lifeline which he duly took with an 84 of his own. He also took the next to put some real pressure on Marco, but the 2007 Grand Prix winner held on to take a deserved victory and book a clash with Ali Carter on Friday.

It is a shame that Joe could not reproduce yesterday’s heroics but after playing possibly the best session of his life, perhaps it was not too surprising to see that he was a bit flat today. I doubt that Marco will care too much though and he is in with a real chance of ranking event title number two now…


Ali Carter 9-8 Mark Williams 0-97(56,41), 0-136(136), 50-74, 115(91)-24, 132(132)-0, 11-74(48), 27-104(87), 70(58)-40, 83(33)-31, 35-70, 74(74)-0, 69(68)-35, 0-66, 57(51)-50, 64-29, 0-79(79), 91(91)-29
Joe Perry 7-9 Marco Fu 5-111(44,67), 1-78(55), 83(47)-0, 64(36)-16, 18-65(42), 77-48, 9-94(94), 89(59)-1, 23-67(62), 28-105(70), 98(98)-0, 17-72(55), 24-102(85), 84(84)-44(39), 70(53)-1, 0-81(54)