With only four players left in this year’s China Championship, today marked the start of the semi- final stage.
Mark Williams drew Hossein Vafaei. These players have only played once before with Williams a 6-1 winner. This was a match that heavily leaned in Mark’s favour and with Williams getting off to a blistering start, the signs looked ominous for the Iranian.
The first three frames all went Williams’ way with a display of snooker that was reminiscent of his World Championship performance and Vafaei just had to sit back and watch as Mark rapidly took a massive advantage to lead 3-0.
In the next, Hossein shot into gear and potted one of the best long balls shots I have seen. Potting a red the full length of the table with the white in the jaws of the opposing pocket was sublime. He then went on to make a a two ball plant that really sealed him his first frame, 3-1 Williams.
After the interval, Mark just went up a gear and left Hossein wondering whether he would get another chance. The frame just fell into the palm of Williams’ hand and before you knew it another frame was Mark’s, 4-1. A spirited effort for Hossein, clawed him back to take another frame to make it 4-2. Williams then extended his lead to 5-2 and the writing seemed to be on the wall for Vafaei at this stage.
Vafaei despite a reckless attempt at a plant, managed to compose himself after the nerves got to Williams,, 5-3. Hossein wasn’t giving up this final without a fight and took the next, 5-4. This match turned the tide with Hossein giving it everything and taking the match to a decider5-5.
With the match down to the wire, a thin cut on a red sealed the frame and match. A great match with a marvellous effort by Hossein Vafaei to push this match to a deciding frame. This Iranian can play and this won’t be the last you see of this fantastic potter. He takes home ranking points and a cheque for £32,000. Williams takes the match with a 91 break.
Check out the match below….
In the other semi-final match Shaun Murphy faced Mark Selby in a match that featured the magician against the tactician.
Murphy got off to a flyer and took the first two frames, perhaps Selby’s batteries were running low after his late night epic with Barry Hawkins. The misery continued for Selby as he lost the third frame so the next was crucial for him to win to stop the rot.
Selby redeemed himself in the next after accomplishing a fluent break to reduce the deficit to 3-1 before the interval.
After the interval, Selby continued his fight back to make it 2-4 and then 3-4 but Murphy wasn’t having any of it and in a frame that seemed to go on forever, Murphy eventually took it to make 5-3. Eventually Murphy crossed the winning line in the next and now sets up a final against Mark Williams tomorrow.
Catch the match below….
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