Hamilton outlasts Selby in marathon
Anthony Hamilton will meet Ali Carter in the Welsh Open semi-final after beating Mark Selby 5-3 in a marathon quarter-final encounter.
The two Englishmen played out a draining match which included a key frame in which a ball was not potted for over half an hour.
The drama began even before the first ball was potted, however, as Selby was distracted by a man entering the auditorium and approaching him before the start, befoe presenting him with an envelope that appeared to be a legal writ being served.
The world number four lost his concentration for a while after the incident - later saying that all he could think about during the match was the contents of the envelope. Hamilton, 37, took a two-frame lead after edging an error-strewn opener before taking the second with ease.
Selby (pictured) then made sure he went into the mid-session interval on level terms by taking two tense frames full of safety play.
After the break, Hamilton took advantage of his opponent sinking the cue ball to regain his lead, only to be pegged back again when he struggled to escape a snooker and set up Selby with a easy chance to clinch the frame.
In the seventh frame, with Selby down 20-59, Hamilton found himself in a tough snooker requiring him to hit the cue ball across the width of the table, through a gap between the green and the pink to reach the 13th red on the opposite cushion. It took him six attempts to make the shot and the clock ticked past the 30 minute mark before the next ball was potted. Eventually he potted the final two reds and took the frame.
Hamilton almost blew his chance to avoid a decider when he let a 52-point lead slip away, but Selby missed the brown with the rest and Hamilton took the frame and the gruelling match.
Neil Robertson 5-2 Marco Fu
Neil Robertson registered a 5-2 victory over Hong Kong's Marco Fu at the Newport Centre in a late-night clash which started after 10pm and finished just before 1am.
The Australian will meet Joe Swail for a place in the final.
The 2007 Welsh Open champion started the match in top form, going 3-0 up and clocking up a best break of 107.
Fu won two of the next three frames with breaks of 93 and 66, but Robertson got over the line in frame seven with 40 and 44.
"My sleep pattern over the last five years stood me in good stead tonight, as I tend to sleep in during the mornings and feel alive at this time," said Robertson.
"I thought Marco would also keep his focus, but he missed quite a few balls. I went out tonight with a postive attitude and I started strongly."
Ali Carter 5-2 Shaun Murphy
Ali Carter (pictured) produced a devastating performance to beat Shaun Murphy and secure a spot in the semi-final of the Welsh Open in Newport.
Carter's superb potting and excellent positional play saw him outshine Murphy, who failed to produce the form he had shown during an impressive last-16 victory over Mark King.
Carter showed that form from the start, but a rare slip while 54 points ahead allowed Murphy to come in and grab the first frame with a 65 break.
The stage was set for a classic encounter between two well-matched players, but Carter won the next four frames to establish a dominant lead. He might not have registered centuries, but every time he ran out of position he seemed able to leave Murphy in trouble and quickly get back in.
At 4-1 it seemed as if the match was over, with Carter once again at the table and scoring heavily. But he ran out of position on 56 and saw Murphy kick-start a fightback with the pot of the match, a long, dead-straight red which screwed back up the table to baulk.
Murphy cleared up to close the gap to two frames, but the old pattern returned in the next. Carter scored early, but Murphy missed an easy red with the rest to allow the 2008 World Championship runner-up to finish the job and earn a semi-final against Hamilton.
Joe Swail 5-4 Stephen Maguire
Joe Swail knocked world number two Stephen Maguire out of the Welsh Open in Newport after an extraordinary match that lasted over four hours.
Swail looked to have taken a commanding 4-2 lead before Maguire came back to square things up, but Swail eventually clinched a thrilling final frame to earn a semi-final against either Neil Robertson or Marco Fu, who began their match late due to the exceptional duration of the Selby-Hamilton match.
World number two Maguire started the match looking in good form, but a few moments of bad luck - including an outrageous long, angled yellow in frame two - saw Swail build a two-frame advantage.
Maguire hit back to win the third with some stylish break-building, but Swail ground out a win in the next to take a 3-1 advantage into the interval.
The first frame back was a thriller, swinging first one way and then the other before coming down to the pink.
And after a lengthy safety exchange, Swail hit what seemed to be the winning pot: an audacious, pacy angled pink along the cushion that earned rapturous applause from the crowd.
Yet joy turned to despair as the cue ball, bouncing on round the table, caught the middle pocket and went in-off, leaving Maguire to clear up.
Swail was clearly upset, but came back well to win the next frame - despite apparently straining his shoulder badly while cueing awkwardly - before his opponent stumbled to the seventh frame.
The key eighth frame lasted almost an hour, with Swail having seemingly done enough after leaving Maguire needing two snookers.
But the Scotsman took the frame to the blue - meaning a single snooker was enough to tie - before clearing up and potting the re-spotted black with a brilliant double to the middle.
Swail dominated the opening exchanges of the deciding frame to build a 43-0 lead, but took on a pointlessly difficult pink when plenty of safety options were available.
Maguire got back in to the frame, and an incredible see-saw battle of missed chances and accidental fouls - which included Swail inadvertently potting the pink just as he seemed to have got the crucial brown - went all the way to the end.