World number four Ali Carter came from 4-1 down to beat Matthew Stevens in a thrilling Shanghai Masters quarter-final today.
Carter looked down and out, at one stage throwing his cue on to the table in frustration, but mounted a stirring comeback and looked increasingly fluent as he progressed to a last-four clash with Mark Selby.
The Essex-based ’Captain’ conceded the first frame after missing a black, but levelled with a break of 76. Stevens took a long third frame after laying a win-or-bust snooker with the yellow in the jaws, sparking that show of emotion from Carter, and went into the mid-session interval 3-1 up after Carter, needing a snooker, inadvertently downed the pink.
That became 4-1 as the Welshman knocked in a break of 87, demonstrating his left-handed party piece with the frame safe, and Carter missed a black off its spot early in the next.
But he bounced back to win that frame with a lovely 103 break and came back from 59-0 down to win the next. A high-class safety battle on the yellow was ended by Stevens’ fluke but Carter responded in kind on the brown and took the frame on the black.
He levelled at 4-4 despite missing a red for the frame at 68-5, and then led by 50 in the decider. Stevens responded and had a chance to win by clearing the colours, but ran out of position on the blue and a superb black into a baulk pocket put Carter through.
Selby had things more his own way against Mark King on the other table, cruising to a 5-1 win.
He took the first after needing two snookers and, though King levelled and made a break of 52 in frame three, he lost position when unlucky with a cannon and Selby never looked back.
He took that frame and the next to lead 3-1 at the interval, and back-to-back centuries – 106 and 105 – sealed his progress.
Earlier in the day, Scotland’s Jamie Burnett completed a stunning comeback to beat Mark Davis 5-4 and reach the first ranking semi-final of his 18-year career.
The in-form Davis roared into a 3-0 lead with breaks of 102, 84 – kick-started by a superb long red – and 83. By that point, Burnett had scored just a solitary point but he crucially took a scrappy fourth frame to narrow the deficit ahead of the mid-session interval.
Davis came from behind to win frame five on the black but Burnett rallied, taking the sixth with a run of 65 to trail 4-2.
He cut the gap to one and a break of 90 levelled the match. A tense decider went down to the wire, Burnett prevailing after a battle on the final pink to set up a last-four clash with Jamie Cope.
The ’Stoke Shotgun’ also overcame a sluggish start to avenge his 2007 China Open final defeat to Graeme Dott.
The Scot rattled off the first frame in quick time but Cope took the second with breaks of 24 – ended when he inadvertently potted the blue – 31 and 39.
A break of 53 set up the third for Dott, who clinched it with a fine long red, but Cope levelled at 2-2 ahead of the mid-session interval.
He had a 147 chance in the first frame back but missed a difficult long 12th red, a tally of 88 nevertheless enough to seal the frame.
And he never looked back, adding the sixth and, after Dott went close with a double and both players missed yellows, clearing the colours to win frame seven and complete a run of four successive frames and a 5-2 win.