World Championship 2009: Day 15 – Live Updates

By the end of today we will know who our two finalists are and as the semi-finals come to a conclusion, I will be providing live updates right here…

Neil Robertson v Shaun Murphy (Third Session)

Frame 17: Having secured the final two frames of yesterday afternoon’s session, Neil Robertson could have really applied some pressure to Shaun Murphy if he had taken the opener today, but it was the 2005 who edged into a 50-0 lead early on. A missed red to the yellow pocket did give Neil a great chance to counter and steal the frame but he just missed a tricky brown with the rest and a relieved Murphy returned to the table to move 10-7 up.

Frame 18: Drama here as Murphy was presented with a fantastic opportunity to make the second 147 of the tournament, following in the footsteps of Stephen Hendry. Ultimately there was just one difficult red on the table but unfortunately for Shaun, this is the one that he missed on 80 and Stephen can let out a huge sigh of relief! Neil Robertson is playing on for a large amount of snookers but to all intents and purposes it looks like 11-7 now and a big couple of frames coming up for Robertson…

Frame 19: Another long, scrappy frame here. By my reckoning Neil has lost all of the long frames so far so he could really do with bucking the trend here. He leads 50-42 with just the colours remaining. Oh dear, having gone in-off on the green and presented Neil with a glorious chance to pull one back, Neil has played a shocking couple of shots on the brown and blue and given Shaun another let off. The brown he overscrewed by some distance and left what should have been a routine blue to the left-centre as a longish pot to a corner. Then to compound the error, rather than play it slow and make the shot as easy as possible (he just needed the blue), he hit it hard and missed it to the near jaw. Eventually it proved to be costly as Shaun got in and potted a pink along the cushion which looked for all the world like it would miss, and then a nice long black for 12-7.

Frame 20: First chance for Shaun but he’s missed the blue and this is a crucial visit for Neil Robertson…and he’s missed on 30, he’s struggling badly at the moment. Well that just sums up the session so far for Neil, he’s missed again and Murphy has taken the frame to make it 13-7 at the mid-session interval. Could this one be over with a session to spare?

Frame 21: Well the interval hasn’t brought about a change in fortunes for Neil Robertson so far, Shaun has extended his lead to 14-7 with a smooth 60+ break.

Frame 22: Neil has had three glorious chances here and though he struggled to take them, he has just about done enough with a break of 66 to get over the line and win his first frame of the day. As well as keeping his hopes of making the final alive, this also guarantees that we will have an evening session tonight!

Frame 23: Taking that last frames looks to have done Neil some good, he’s in again with the first big chance in the next…he’s missed a blue but 65 ahead with 59 remaining, he looks good to get another one back for 14-9. If he can get out if this session at just 14-10 down then he’ll have had a great result given how things have gone…

Frame 24:Well that is just brilliant from Neil really, he’s finished off the session with a century and having lost the first five frames of the day to leave himself looking totally out of it, he has recovered the situation brilliantly to at least give himself a chance tonight at 14-10.

Mark Allen v John Higgins (Fourth Session)

Frame 25: Well that’s a cracking start from Mark Allen who rifles in a century to reduce his arrears to 15-10. Long way to go but it’s great to see him put up a fight.

Frame 26: Mark in first again with a nice long-red but he’s missed a near-straight black off the spot and John had a great chance to counter. As it was though he missed a black to the left-centre which although not entirely straightforward due to being hampered by another ball, I expected him to get and gave Mark a reprieve. 15-11 now and this is getting VERY interesting…

Frame 27: John is really feeling the pressure now and as he continues to miss, Mark is just growing in confidence…Higgins makes a mess of a long red but looks to have left it safe. Allen though picks another one out at that is 15-12!

Frame 28: Allen celebrating with passion as his break reaches just eight because he knows how important even frame is right now and clearly believes that he can win. Oh dear though, on 23 he’s took his eye off the pot as Dennis Taylor has said and he’s given John a chance to steady the ship. He really needs this…and well done John, he’s cleared the table with a century and at the mid-session interval leads 16-12, needing just one more for a place in the final.

Frame 29: Higgins in with a decent chance for frame and match but he’s twitched on a pink and Allen punishes him for 16-13…

Frame 30: Well after a terrific battle it’s all over and you can see just how much it means to John Higginsbut what a scare he was given by Mark! The final frame summed up the match as after two great shots to start the break (a long red and a great split on the reds), it looked a formality for John to get over the line. Amazingly though as the break ticked over to 60, he missed a straightforward red into the corner and suddenly Mark was presented with a chance to really get the match on and make it 16-14.

Unfortunately for Mark though he missed a blue to the left-centre from the last red and that proved to be the decisive miss as John Higgins cleared to pink to book his place in his fourth final.

Well done to John of course but huge kudos to Mark because at 13-3 I thought that he had no chance, but in the end he brought himself right back into the match and he can be really proud of that performance. Hopefully he can start next season feeling positive and push on from there now, I’m sure he will.

Neil Robertson v Shaun Murphy (Fourth Session)

Frame 25: Just the start Neil Robertson was after here as he takes the first frame of the session and reduces the gap to three frames…

Frame 26: After a couple of poor safety shots Neil has taken the second frame as his momentum continues to build. That’s five frames in a row now and Shaun will be very, very worried…

Frame 27: For the first time tonight Shaun was in first with a good chance but a slightly poor positional shot left him a slightly tricky black which he left in the jaws of the pocket. Though Neil could not immediately capitalise, he was soon back in from a poor Murphy safety and eventually won the frame to pull back to just one behind at 14-13! As the players exited the arena after the frame their faces could not have been more different, Neil laughing and joking with the crowd and Shaun looking deadly serious, borderline upset. This next frame could be must win for him…

Frame 28: Well this is sensational, Murphy looks as if he is about to burst into tears and can’t string any pots together while Neil is just flying along. Perhaps surprisingly it is Robertson’s safety play that has really been impressive tonight and as Shaun is beginning to miss more and more, he is finding the opportunities that he needs all too easy to come by.

Poor old Murphy here, 51 behind with 51 on and he’s fluked a red and left the white on the baulk cushion. Though he produced a stupidly good long pot on the pink, this now meant that he would need a snooker and try as he might, he could not force Robertson to miss and it is 14-14 at the final interval of this match. Absolutely incredible.

Frame 29: Just what the doctor ordered for Shaun Murphy, despite a terrible break-off, a missed pink from Neil to the left-centre gave him a chance to pot a few balls and he did just that, making a flawless century to move back in front at 15-14.

Frame 30: What a transformation since the mid-session interval, after a scrappy start to this frame Shaun Murphy has potted a superb do or die red to the left centre and deservedly won the frame on it for 16-14. Brilliant response from Murhy.

Frame 31: And he’s completed the job, what a match and what a performance from both. Having lost seven frames in a row from 14-7 up, to be under all that pressure and just move up a gear and win 17-14. Utter class.