Royal London Watches Grand Prix 2008: Deadly Day into third final

Click below to read how the second semi-final between Ali Carter and Ryan Day turned out this evening…

Ryan Day 6-5  Ali Carter

Ryan Day won what I think was the best match of the week tonight, edging Ali Carter in a tense deciding frame finish.

The standard was just brilliant from the start as following a terrific opening red to the right centre, Carter made a break of 107 to go into the lead. Day though has played well all week and looked like producing the perfect response in frame two as he looked set to make his first career 147. You can read more about the 147 attempt here but having missed the final yellow, he had at least responded with his first century of the match and levelled it at 1-1. No centuries in the next two frames but the standard continued with breaks of 68 and 63 as they still could not be separated.

After the interval though it looked for a long while like there was only one man in it as Ryan Day played lights out snooker,  knocking in two more century breaks as he went 5-2 ahead.

Carter though was not going to give up and perhaps tellingly, as the next couple of frames were much more tactical he began to take control of them and closed the gap to 5-4. There was nothing Ryan could do in frame ten though as Ali took full advantage of a fluke to make his second and the fifth overall century of the match to level the match at 5-5.

The decider was always going to be a tense affair and both had a number of chances to build up a significant lead, if not win it. Ultimately though it was to be an attempt at a long red from Carter that would prove to be decisive as having missed it, he was very unlucky to knock the black in and leave a free ball. Ryan duly potted the blue as an extra red and potted the balls he needed to just about get over the line.

This was such a good contest as it isn’t often these days that you see two players in such good form in the same match. Ryan in particular though has been the player of the week by a long way for me, in terms of performances at least. To come though final frame deciders against good players like Ricky Walden, Mark Selby and Ali Carter like he has takes a lot of bottle and fully deserves his third crack at a ranking event title in tomorrow’s final. Having beaten Higgins twice recently in Shanghai and at the Crucible, he should have nothing to fear there…

Carter will be disappointed to lose in another semi-final but he was unfortunate with how the final frame ended and in to be honest did not do a great deal wrong, Ryan just played great on the day. Now up into the top five of the provisional rankings, if he keeps playing like he is right now then that elusive first title sure can’t be too far away.

Ryan Day 6-5 Ali Carter 1-107(107), 120(120)-0, 68(68)-15, 1-92(63), 104(104)-0, 72(32)-24, 116(115)-14, 24-89(35,35), 9-101(84), 0-107(107), 72(34)-36