Bailey Allen Hall, Galway - March 14-18
TOURNAMENT DRAW - WATCH LIVE - LIVE SCORES - PHOTOS BY MONIQUE LIMBOS
Betfair PTC Grand Finals 2012 - Quarter-Finals
Stephen Maguire 4-3 Ricky Walden
Stephen Maguire became the first player to secure his place in the semi finals of the Betfair PTC Grand Finals by managing to hold off a tenacious fight-back by Ricky Walden to win the first quarter-final of the day 4-3.
Flintshire's Walden had got the better start winning the opening frame but Maguire then began to fire and reeled off the next three with breaks of 92, 77 and 82 to lead 3-1.
The Scot seemed well set to see out the match when he got in first in the fifth frame only to miss a blue trying to split the pack. As so often happens that shot seemed to change things as Walden made a 104 to make it 3-2 and after Maguire missed again from a promising position for his opponent to force a decider.
The deciding frame was a scrappy affair with Maguire managing to see out the job with runs of 30 and 31 to seal victory 4-3 and set-up a semi-final clash with Neil Robertson tomorrow.
“I played well to go 3-1 up, then when I missed that blue Ricky came back at me well, so I was pleased to win in the end." said Maguire who has had recent upsurge in form following his victory in PTC 12.
"This is a big event with a lot of prize money. It's hard to win any event these days but hopefully I can win one before long and then maybe more will follow.”
Stephen Lee 4-0 Mark Selby
The resurgent Stephen Lee had no time to hang around this afternoon as he white-washed world no.1 Mark Selby 4-0 to book a place in tomorrow's semi-finals.
The match started slowly with both players missing balls in the opening frame but Lee won it on the colours and never looked back. The Trowbridge potter knocked in breaks of 57, 119 and 69 to run out an easy winner.
“Mark has had the better of me the last few years so it was nice to go there and beat him for a change” said Lee who has only conceded two frames in his three matches this week.
”The roll-on, roll-off format makes it difficult to get yourself ready for the match. And we both missed a few balls early on but I managed to nick the first frame and that settled me down. If he had won it then he would have settled.”
Lee who in 2008 dropped out of the top 16 has seen his fortunes dramatically improve of late to the extent where he is now pushing for a place in the top 8.
“The increase in the number of tournaments has helped me find my form. I'm enjoying practising because I've always got something to play for. I have beaten some top players and that gives me belief which to be fair I’ve always been low on.”
Andrew Higginson 4-1 Xiao Guodong
Stephen Lee's opponent in tomorrow's first semi-final will be Widnes' Andrew Higginson who got the better of upcoming Chinese talent Xiao Guodong 4-1 in an error strewn quarter final tonight.
Both players struggled to reach the standard of play that had seen them reach this stage but it was Higginson who proved the better player. Despite Xiao sneaking the first frame with a 53 clearance aided by an unbelievable fluke on the final pink.
Higginson won the next two frames with a high break of just 40. He made it 3-1 with a 69 break, the highest of the match and then sealed the victory with a 46 clearance in the fifth frame.
“It was scrappy all the way through” said a relieved Higginson. "We had about 50 chances each. Usually when you miss you have time to sit down and compose yourself, but I was getting straight back to the table then missing again. Obviously though I’m just pleased to get through.”
“I’ve been consistent in the last couple of years getting to last 32s and last 16s, which is all well and good but I am here to win things. I've climbed the rankings and I should be getting to the later stages of tournaments.”
"I'm guaranteed £20,000 now and the money is a massive bonus...but I wouldn't mind £70,000!"
Neil Robertson 4-1 Joe Perry
Neil Robertson completed the semi final line-up with a solid display to ease past his good friend and practice partner Joe Perry 4-1.
The Australian got off to a flying start with a 131 in the first frame equalling Ricky Walden’s highest break of the tournament.
Cambridge-based Perry levelled with a fine 100 break before Robertson won a scrappy third to make it 2-1. That became 3-1 thanks to a superb long red and he sealed victory in the next with a break of 52.
“It’s always hard to play Joe because we are such good friends and see each other in the club all the time so we have no secrets about how we play“ said Robertson.
”He had couple of chances to win the third and fourth frames, if he had taken them it would have been different. That said I felt fantastic tonight and if I hadn’t missed three easy balls I could have had more centuries.”
Robertson who won two PTC events this season has adjusted his attitude to the series the season. “My attitude to the PTCs this season was a lot better, I embraced them and played in as many events as I could. It's good prize money here and now I'm getting the rewards.”
Tomorrow's first semi-final in the afternoon will be between Stephen Lee and Andrew Higginson with Stephen Maguire versus Neil Robertson to follow. The final will be in the evening. All matches will be broadcasted on EuroSport and available to watch online on the EuroSport Player.
Match reports courtesy of Daniel Clarke.