ROBERT ‘The Milkman’ Milkins delivered the goods at the crucial time as he won a final frame thriller to secure a spot in the International Championship semi-finals.
The Gloucestershire potter now just stands one win away from reaching his first ranking final in a career almost spanning 20 years after winning a deciding frame shootout in his quarter-final tussle with Marco Fu.
A high quality match saw the first six frames shared as Milkins made breaks of 60, 56 and 52 while Fu, who made last year’s final, scored runs of 51, 94 and 134.
A break of 74 put the Hong Kong star in front at 4-3 before Milkins edged ahead at a crucial time winning the next two frames to lead 5-4. But Fu was to force the match into a final frame shootout with a break of 61.
However any hopes of Fu making a second consecutive appearance in the competition’s final were dashed completely when Milkins floated in a vital break of 70 which helped clinch the match.
Milkins, who has previously appeared and lost in three major ranking semi-finals, will hope he is fourth time lucky when he meets Ricky Walden on Friday in a best of 17 clash.
“It was a good match all the way through, and always close,” he said. “Marco has played brilliant snooker against me many times. He never gives in and keeps trying until the last ball.
“I’ve got to break my losing streak in semi-finals now. I have to forget about the fact that it’s a semi and just try to play my game. It will be a long match so there’s time to settle down. Hopefully I’ll come out on top.”
Walden, who has won his two previous major ranking titles in China, is just two more wins from making it a third success in the Far East after completing a ruthless 6-1 win over Jamie Burnett.
The world number 11 hit three centuries as he dominated throughout against the Scot who failed to maintain an impressive run of results which saw him defeat Matthew Stevens, Judd Trump and Peter Ebdon during the week.
Robert Milkins’ semi-final heartbreak in major events
2012 World Open – lost 6-2 to Stephen Lee
2013 Wuxi Classic – lost 6-2 to Neil Robertson
2013 Australian Open – lost 6-4 to Marco Fu