PTC8: Doherty Keeps Home Hopes Alive

Saturday at PTC8 saw Ken Doherty survive  a series of deciding frames as the home favourite kept his hopes alive of victory at the tournament named after his friend Alex Higgins. More ominously however it was the progress of world number one Mark Selby that was perhaps even more eye-catching as he joined him in the last 16…


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Ireland’s Ken Doherty began his campaign with a match against Northern Ireland’s Joe Meara, a man who he has already defeated once this season at the PTC2 event in Gloucester. While that match proved to be a one-sided affair however, this time he was taken to  deciding frame before the 1997 world champion won it with a break of 125.

It looked like his second round match against Ali Carter would end in defeat on the arena table as the 1997 world champion slipped 3-1 behind but frame six would eventually prove to be the turning point. Having produced a gutsy clearance to force a re-spotted black, Ken then ended what was a run of impressive safety from both by doubling the black the full length of the table into the yellow pocket to force a decider. Though he would not win it as comfortably as in his previous match, he was able to come through to the last 32.

There he would meet Rory McLeod and this time it was Ken who would let a 3-1 advantage slip, Rory taking the next two to force a decider before Ken came through again to book his place in the last 16. There he will face Scot Alan McManus who took advantage of a walkover against Robin Hull with impressive victories against Dave Harold and then Shaun Murphy to progress.

Earlier in the day Shaun had ended the hopes of Steve Davis in the first-round in what was a terrific match over on the arena table that had everything. The turning point however proved to be frame five as having got in with an initial run of 69, Davis inexplicably missed a frame ball red to the left-centre which allowed Murphy in to steal the frame with an excellent clearance of 71. Steve did have a couple of chances in the decider but he missed difficult cut-backs on both the brown and then decisively the black to allow Murphy to get over the line.

Elsewhere, Mark Selby looked particularly impressive in dispatching Graeme Dott 4-0 on the arena table, though he was then to be pushed hard by Jimmy Robertson in one of the final matches to finish yesterday evening, eventually coming through in a decider.Next up for him will be Barry Hawkins, the man who last season defeated the world number one at the World Open in an enthralling match.

Also through were Judd Trump and Stephen Lee who will meet in a repeat of their memorable 2009 World Championship qualifier which Stephen won 10-8 having at one point trailed 6-2, while Yu Delu and Stuart Bingham also booked their places in the last 16.