Prima semifinala a turneului a fost un meci-spectacol : in primul rand pentru ca nici unul dintre cei doi jucatori nu mai pierduse o semifinala de Masters – Ronnie castigase 8/8, iar Mark 3/3, apoi pentru ca a fost un meci terminat in joc decisiv (6-5 pt englez), si, in ultimul rand, pentru ca Ronnie a egalat recordul de 9 finale a lui Stephen Hendry ; in plus, pentru Ronnie este a sasea finala de Masters in sapte ani, si posibil al cincilea titlu, in timp ce Mark castigase doua finale din trei.
Meciul a inceput cu primele doua frame-uri castigate de galez, si egalate imediat de Ronnie, urmand apoi o serie de jocuri impartite in mod egal intre cei doi, pana in jocul decisiv, unde Mark a ratat o lovitura la o bila colorata – albastra mai precis, oprindu-se astfel din a ajunge si apoi depasi avantajul lui Ronnie care si-a si adjudecat frame-ul si meciul.
Declaratii de dupa meci:
“It felt alright to to involved in and I felt pleased that I made a bit of a game of it. When he started potting balls I thought this is going to be a right good hiding, I’m going to get absolutely smashed. I really just wanted to make a game of it. To feel as if I had a part to play in it because the atmosphere was so good.
A few balls started to go in and at 2-2 I felt the pressure was off a bit and gave him something to think about and not made a show of myself, so that was pleasing. Mark was the better player today, I think. He’s a different class to all the other players coming through who’ve won tournaments recently. We grew up together as juniors and I really respect his game.
I don’t know how I won that game. When I potted those last two reds when I fouled, I was gutted I thought what a way to lose, then I got a chance. On the brown I put everything into that shot. I apologized to Mark (for the fist pump) I hate that kind of thing and there is no need for it. I think it’s horrible but I couldn’t believe I had won. I was ultra relieved when the brown went in.
I said to Mark at the end, I don’t know how I beat him.”
“I played well, I can’t grumble and say anything other than I played well, he played well. I made some great breaks but it all came down to the last frame and I missed a tricky red to the green pocket. I knew if I got it I couldn’t fail to win but if I missed I couldn’t fail to lose.
I couldn’t really play much better than that, I didn’t miss many pots and my safety was good.”
Se pare noul presedinte al Snooker Association, Barry Hearn a remarcat in cursul acestei saptamai, ca Ronnie are o infatisare ‘nefericta’ la masa de joc. In acesta privinta, Ronnie a declarat:
“The reason I don’t like smiling is because I’m so unconfident when I go out there. I just don’t expect to play well these days.
I’m petrified going up the tunnel sometimes as I’m worried I’ll make a fool of myself and not give my opponent a game.
But once you get pushed about a bit by your opponent, your survival instinct kicks in. But I keep having to find something, and that is really hard.”
Cealalta finala s-a decis oarecum scurt: 6-3 pt Mark Selby; dupa un egal la 3, englezul castigand astfel al zecelea meci din 11, singurul pierdut fiind si cel mai important – finala de anul trecut, in fata – surpriza! – lui Ronnie O’Sullivan. Se anunta asadar o finala disputata…