World Cup 2011: And Then There Were Four…

Today saw the eight surviving teams in the 2011 World Cup reduced to four as the quarter-finals were played to a conclusion, the first to four frames coming through as the winners…

Afternoon Session

Wales 4-2 Australia
China 4-1 Republic of Ireland

As has been the theme during this tournament so far, the morning session saw the two favourites come through as group winners Wales and China saw off Australia and China respectively.

For the Welsh their quarter-final got off to the perfect start as Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens each took victory in their first singles frames before Australia came back into it with victory in the first doubles frame. The next two frames were shared as Mark Williams defeated Steve Mifsud and Neil Robertson edged out Matthew Stevens, before the Welsh were able to take the second doubles frame and a 4-2 victory.

They will now play China who won each of their four singles frames to come through despite slipping up in the doubles. It seems that there was a moment of controversy as Liang Wenbo apparently did not wear a bow tie for his decisive match against Ken Doherty and we may be hearing a bit more about that over the coming days.

Click here to read the quotes from Ken and a response from World Snooker.

Evening Session

Northern Ireland 4-3 Scotland
England 3-4 Hong Kong

The first match to finish in the second session saw the first upset of the knock-out stages as the much-fancied Scottish team of John Higgins and Stephen Maguire were defeated by Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen and Gerard Greene.

Early on it was Allen and Greene who seized the initiative, winning their singles matches to lead 2-0 before Scotland fought back to level at 2-2. The next two frames were also shared as Scotland won their second doubles frame of the day while Maguire was downed by Mark Allen which meant that the match would be settled by a frame between John Higgins and Mark Allen.

When the two have met on the big stage previously, notably and the World and UK semi-finals it has generally been the Scot who has come out on top but today was to be Mark and Northern Ireland’s day as the Antrim man secured a 4-3 victory and a spot in the semi-finals.

Both players managed by Paul Mount’s On Q Promotions, apparently Mark, Gerard and Paul celebrated the win by heading to the nearest McDonalds!

They will now meet Hong Kong who caused the second shock of the afternoon by coming back from 3-2 down to defeat arguable tournament favourites England 4-3 and progress.

The turning point looks to have been a gruelling second doubles frame which was won by Hong Kong on the colours before Marco Fu defeated Mark Selby in the decider to seal a shock win.

Could we yet see an all-Asian final over in Thailand?