THE BUSINESS end of snooker’s first big ranking event of the season has a very different look to it after two rather unfamiliar names reached the semi-finals.
Qualifiers Marcus Campbell and Mark Davis continued the surprise nature of this season’s Wuxi Classic by reaching the last four after they both beat former world champions.
Campbell produced the shock of the day beating Welshman Mark Williams 5-3 and Davis whitewashed Graeme Dott. It is the first time both players have reached the semi-final stages of a major ranking event.
Despite his highest break of the match being only 47, Davis sailed into the semi-finals against a below-par Dott winning all of the five frames played to claim a comfortable 5-0 win.
Davis, who has also beaten Ding Junhui and Jamie Burnett to get to this stage, will meet Stuart Bingham in tomorrow’s first semi-final after the Basildon potter came through another tense affair to beat world-number-one Mark Selby 5-4.
A century break from Bingham gave him a useful 3-1 lead going into the mid session interval. After the restart Bingham then just got to within one frame of victory at 4-2 ahead before the Jester from Leicester rallied in consecutive frames to force the match into a final frame shoot-out.
But just like all of his games so far in this competition, Bingham came through the all important deciding frame with a fantastic break of 86 to steer his way into the semi-finals.
Bingham is just two wins away from making it a hat-trick of wins already this season after winning the Pink Ribbon pro-am and the Asian PTC 1 event last weekend.
Campbell, who at one stage led 3-1, survived a fight back from Williams whom pulled it level at 3-3 to put the pressure back on the Scotsman. But the world-number-25 held his nerve and took frames seven and eight to reach the last four.
Next up for the Dumbarton star is England’s Ricky Walden who came back from 3-1 down to beat Gloucester’s Robert Milkins. Walden, who won the Shanghai Masters in 2008, will be hoping to get the two more wins he needs to claim his second big ranking title since turning professional at the start of the millennium.
The question at this stage is whether Mark Davis or Marcus Campbell will be able to make history and claim their first ranking title here in China? Given the amount of shock results we have seen this week I certainly would not bet against it.
Semi-Final Draw (matches first to six frames)
Stuart BINGHAM vs Mark DAVIS
Marcus CAMPBELL vs Ricky WALDEN