MARK Davis is through to his second consecutive ranking event semi-final after knocking out Martin Gould in the Australian Open quarter-finals.
Davis, who before the start of this season failed to reach a ranking event semi-final in his previous 21 years as a professional, has matched his performance in the Wuxi Classic last month in getting to the final four stage of the competition.
The first four frames were shared between the pair as Davis won an important fourth frame with a break of 53 to go to the mid-session interval on level terms at 2-2.
But after the break Gould had no answers for one of the in-form players of the tour so far as he took the next three frames to set up a semi-final clash with good friend Barry Hawkins and be one win away from reaching his first ever ranking event final.
Hawkins made it through after ending Matt Selt’s hopes of reaching his first ever ranking event semi-final by winning 5-3.
Last season’s Sky Sports Snooker Shoot Out winner raced into a 2-0 lead before Selt got off the mark to make it 2-1. But Hawkins won the next two frames with breaks over 60 to put himself just one frame away from victory.
To Selt’s credit he refused to let Hawkins roll over him and won the next two frames in what was looking to be a great fightback. But a classy century break of 102 while under pressure from Hawkins saw him hold his nerve to claim victory.
The bottom half of the draw saw both quarter-final matches produce shock results with top ten players Shaun Murphy and Stephen Lee bowing out of the tournament.
Hong Kong’s Marco Fu beating an out-of-sorts Lee with ease storming to a 5-1 win with a high break of 99 to reach his first ranking event semi-final in nearly 18 months – the last time coming in the German Masters last year.
And just like his previous rounds against Michael Holt and Ding Junhui, Peter Ebdon had to come through a deciding frame to grind out a 5-4 win. This time Sheffield potter Shaun Murphy was the victim.
In a highly entertaining contest, a vital break of 56 in the final frame steered last season’s China Open champion to victory.
Tomorrow’s (Saturday) semi-final between Ebdon and Fu will be the first meeting between the pair at a ranking event in more than six years. The last time coming in 2006 when Ebdon beat the Hong Kong star in a thrilling contest 17-16 to book a place in the Crucible final.
Australian Open semi-final draw
Mark DAVIS vs Barry HAWKINS
Peter EBDON vs Marco FU