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Ssb - just 17

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  • Ssb - just 17

    So at long last we’re up to best of 17s as the semi-finals of the UK Championship get underway with four familiar faces vying for the £125,000 top prize.

    It was another day of close matches yesterday, the standout being Shaun Murphy’s nerveshreddingly dramatic 6-5 win over 17 year-old Luca Brecel, who could have won 6-4 and was clearing up to win the decider after Murphy’s kick on the last red.

    “I want my mum,” was Murphy’s heartfelt tweet after an afternoon of psychological torture. Snooker is a hard enough game at the best of times but when the pressure is on – and it is in these big tournaments – it separates the men from the boys, literally as it transpired yesterday.

    That’s why these guys deserve the big money they earn. What drama, what entertainment they serve up time and time again.

    Murphy today plays Ali Carter in the first semi-final as the arena goes down to one table.

    Carter has come through quietly, which probably suits him. He wasn’t talked up before the event began but he wasn’t at last season’s World Championship either and he reached the final at the Crucible.

    He’s a tough competitor and took the game to in-form Stuart Bingham yesterday, winning 6-4.

    Tomorrow it’s the Marks, Selby and Davis.

    Davis has been solid and consistent all season. These don’t sound like huge compliments but they are. His standard at the moment doesn’t slip below a particular level and he saw off Matthew Stevens 6-4 last night.

    Late last night, Selby proved why he has been world no.1 and why he can return to top spot if he beats Davis tomorrow.

    He was 4-0 down to Neil Robertson, who had entered full grinding mode. Many players would have lost all interest but Selby’s inner strength and determination came to the fore and he dug deep to come back and win 6-4.

    This wasn’t a great match but Selby’s never-say-die attitude was admirable. Success at sport isn’t all about what happens when things are going well but how you cope with adversity.

    This was a textbook example of how to do it.