John Higgins v Ali Carter
In the first semi-final of the afternoon we had a repeat of last years Welsh Open final in which John Higgins won 9-4 in what he described as his "best start to a final ever". This match could of turned out differently though as both players performed brilliantly in beating Ding Junhui and Matthew Stevens respectively in their quarter-final matches.
Ali got off to a dream start with a well-polished break of 118 in the first but John hit back in the second with a 71 and a 76 in the third to go 2-1 ahead. But Ali pulled back to 2-2 with the help of a 49 break in the fourth. But after the interval the captain started to stall managing only just 23 points through the rest the match in which John made breaks of 55 and 69 to win the match 6-2.
Unfortunately for Ali he has yet to manage to beat John Higgins in a ranking event and in future matches against the Wizard he will really need to step up his game and be more consistant in his potting to stand a chance of winning. For John though if you exclude the German Masters because his withdrawal due to his father's death, it is his second consecutive ranking final and he will be strong favourite to take the title for a second year in a row.
Mark Selby v Stephen Maguire
The evening's match was between two of the most consistent players of the season, both winning matches on a regular basis and both performed well in the PTC events with Selby winning one and Maguire reaching two finals. Maguire had dispatched home and tournament favourite Mark Williams in the quarters and Selby had Graeme Dott so they both had to come through some tough matches to make it to this stage.
"On fire" Maguire started us off in the first frame with a cool break of 70, but Mark took the next one with two runs of 39 to level the score. Frame 3 turned out to be a long affair, lasting 30 minutes. Stephen started well with a break of 65 but Mark came back and had a chance to win it, but he missed the final black which left it over the pocket and he conceded - which gave him a formal warning from ref Jan Verhaas. Mark quickly washed that out of his mind though and won the next frame which was a scrappy affair to go 2-2 into the interval.
Mark was first out of the blocks and he made a 65 break to take him 3-2, but Stephen impressed in the next frame with an excellent total clearance of 137, the third highest of the tournament, to come back to 3-3, before an 88 break from Mark put him back at 4-3. Frame eight was another drawn out affair, lasting 34 minutes. It came down to a long safety battle on the final yellow which Stephen won. clearing the pink for 4-4. He then quickly made a 109 in the next only for Mark to make a 90 to force a final frame decider.
Mark then made one of the worst break-off shot's of the tournament, and stuck an easy red over the middle for Stephen, he made a composed 67 break and even went out of position on a number of occasions but it was enough to win him frame and match. Mark will obviously be disappointed not to reach a second consecutive final, but his break building wasn't as up to scratch as Stephen's. He will now face John Higgins in the final which is the first all-scottish final since the 2005 Malta Cup where Stephen Hendry beat Graeme Dott for his last ranking title. Maguire is playing for his first title since the 2008 China Open.
The first session of the final starts at 1.30 PM and the final session starts at 7:00 PM. with the winner taking home 5000 ranking points, £30,000 and the title of Welsh Open champion 2011.