PTC Finals 2012: Stage Set For Semi-Finals

Saturday was quarter-finals day in Galway as the line-up for the last four was decided. Click below for my take on the day’s action and the usual links…

  • Click here to view the latest drawsheet
  • Click here to view the latest projected seedings

First man through to the semi-finals today was Stephen Maguire, who survived an attempted comeback from Ricky Walden to come through in a deciding frame.

Leading 3-1, Maguire looked well-placed to secure victory but a century from Walden followed by a gutsy clearance in frame six to the blue took the pair into a decider. Though the first chances of that frame fell to Ricky however, he was never able to obtain perfect position and to me looked to be feeling the pressure of the moment. Stephen on the other other hand continued to play the positive shots where possible and despite a number of narrow misses, would eventually make it count, taking the frame in two scoring visits.

Next up for Stephen will be Neil Robertson, after the Australian came through a 4-1 winner against Joe Perry this evening. From the start Neil asserted his authority with an impressive break of 131 and despite a break of 100 from his opponent, rarely looked back. Despite a couple of early defeats since his Masters triumph, Neil remains a tough proposition for anyone at the moment and if I were forced to pick a favourite for the World Championship next month, he would probably be my choice.

Another man in form meanwhile is recent World Open finalist Stephen Lee after the four-time ranking event winner recorded a 4-0 whitewash against world number one Mark Selby this afternoon. Having trailed for long periods during a protracted opening frame, it was Lee who fought back to take it, before running through the next three frames with a top break of 114 to book his place in the semi-finals. Having sustained a high-level of performance for much of the season with the result that he has climbed back into the world’s top eight provisionally, in many ways it would be good to see Stephen’s form rewarded with a title at some point and who is to say that it will not come tomorrow?

Hoping to stop him will be Andrew Higginson after the former Welsh Open finalist saw off an out of sorts Xiao Guodong to book his place in the last four. Aside from having already guaranteed himself at least £20,000 for his efforts this week, Higginson has also closed the gap to 16th placed Ronnie O’Sullivan in the latest projected seedings, aided by the fact that I have removed the minimum points previously awarded to Ronnie for the World Open and PTC Finals from which he has not played due to medical reasons, following David Hendon’s post a Snooker Scene Blog today.

While that is a storyline to keep an eye on as the season comes to a close however, there is a title to be won here in Galway and 24 hours from now, we will know who will claim the 2012 PTC Grand Finals. Who is you money on?