Welsh Open 2009: Semi-final News

Just the two semi-finals on today and what a match we have already seen between Ali Carter and Anthony Hamilton. During the rest of the day I will continue to update this post as the results come in so please keep checking back…


Allister Carter 6-5 Anthony Hamilton
0-77(77), 0-85(80), 49-63, 60(51)-1, 141(141)-0, 66(48)-45, 77(77)-0, 59-36, 0-116(116), 69(53)-70(64c), 86(58)-11
Joe Swail 6-4 Neil Robertson
77(55)-59(59), 104(98)-16, 54-47, 54-2, 13-82(82), 78(59)-1, 21-109(94), 40-60, 0-93(93), 66-40

To view the latest scores you can use either the BBC website here, the embedded live scores on the official World Snooker website here or the relaunched Global Snooker site here.


Ali Carter is through to his second ranking event final with a dramatic 6-5 win over Nottingham’s Anthony Hamilton this afternoon in Newport.

After the day of drama like what we had yesterday it is often the case that the following day’s play can be something of a let down, but today’s first semi-final was anything but. Initially it was the underdog Hamilton who looked the most comfortable, knocking in breaks of 77 and 80 in the way to a 3-0 lead. Ali though managed to steady the ship just before the interval with a 51 break and this proved to be the start of an impressive comeback as further runs of 141, 48 and 77 helped him move one away from the final at 5-3.

Anthony though had not come this far only to go down without a fight and he very nearly produced the perfect response in frame nine as he came close to a brilliant maximum break. It was a really good effort, highlighted by what for me was the shot of the week on a medium-range black, freeing a red from the side-cushion at the same time. Unfortunately though things went wrong went he left himself hampered by the pink on the last red to the right-centre and unable to get on the crucial 15th black. In the end he decided to play for the green and hope to get the £2,000 high break prize with a potential 143, but perhaps unsurprisingly he missed the yellow with his next shot and the break came to an end at 116.

He continued to fight well though and following a couple of missed shots from Ali in the tenth frame, he stepped in with a gutsy clearance to pink of 64 to send us into a deciding frame. In it, the first big chance fell to Ali Carter before he missed a red to the yellow pocket on 58. After a tactical exchange, what followed was an extraordinary sequence of shots. First it was Carter who played a top safety shot to put Hamilton in desperate trouble, before a first-class escape from Anthony looked like it had got him out of jail. Ali though stepped up and cruelly kknocked in a terrific long-red which proved to be the match winner.

It was such a top match to watch, some really good snooker from both players and an excellent last last two or three frames to finish it. Some might have expected Hamilton to wilt against someone in the form Carter has shown this week and when he went 5-3 down I did not expect him to come back the way he did. Fair play to him though, he is in my book the best player around not to have won a ranking event before and still has what it takes to give anybody a game.

For Ali though he is through to his second ranking event final and he surely has his best chance yet to finally make that elusive breakthrough. In the past he has been accused of being something of a ‘choker’ but the way he held himself together in the decider, potting a few long reds under extreme pressure showed that he has what it takes to come through these occasions.

He’s done it at last, after nearly 20 years of trying and nine previous semi-final defeats, Joe Swail is in a final after withstanding a brave fightback from Australian Neil Robertson to win 6-4.

Joe has probably played better this week but a remarkable mix of bad luck for Neil and a series of missed frame balls by the 2007 champion cost him dear early on. In frame one Neil missed a frame ball pink and in frame three he did exactly the same, this after his opponent Joe Swail had missed a sitter of a green when clearing up. In frame four things did not get any better as his pot success rate slipped to 76%, but there were some things that were just out of his control, in particular as he knocked a red in when attempting to split the pack from the pink and also when he potted a superb plant only to not finish on a colour and leave himself needing a snooker.

Neil did at least avoid the dreaded whitewash in frame five but another mistake when he left the white short when attempting to snooker behind the green cost him the sixth frame and Joe found himself 5-1 up and looking good.

Joe of course though has been here before and just one away from victory it started to show as he started to miss a few. Neil too is a fighter and he began to close the gap one frame at a time much to Joe’s horror until remarkably he found himself just one behind at 4-5.

Eventually however, Joe found himself with a gilt-edged chance and courtesy of a quite brilliant positional shot to get from yellow to green off four cushions, managed to leave Neil needing a snooker with just three balls left on the table. Though it was a great effort from Neil, he had just left himself too much to do and eventually Joe knocked in the blue to seal a famous victory.

For Neil it is the first time he has failed to win the tournament having reached the semi-finals and given how he has played up until this point I’m sure he will be disappointed to have performed so badly at the start of the match. He will be back though.

Full credit must go to Joe Swail because having suffered so many ups and downs over the years it is really quite remarkable that he has been able to put together a run like this. Having lost his opening four matches of the season it looked like it might just be the beginning of the end for him but that amazing night at the UK Championship qualifiers in December has really turned things around for him and given him a huge confidence boost going into the last few events of the season. Just to get to the final here though and get the ‘monkey off his back’ as he said afterwards will just mean so much to him.

No doubt that he will be the underdog against Ali tomorrow but would you write him off?