Stephen Hendry overcame the discomfort of a pulled muscle in his side to continue his progress in the China Open in Beijing this morning.
The seven-times world champion trounced Ricky Walden 5-0 to secure a place in the semi-finals even after injuring himself during a workout at the tournament hotel’s gymnasium yesterday.
“It was one of those fluky things. All I did was go on the rowing machine and stuff like that,” explained Hendry. “I’ve been doing the same thing all week but I woke up this morning feeling very sore.
“I went down to the practice table at 10am and getting down over the shot was a real struggle. I thought I might be in trouble but luckily I took some pain-killers and they helped a lot.”
Walden booked his debut in the quarter-final of a world-ranking event when Steve Davis, trailing 3-0, was forced to concede their third-round match feeling dizzy after cracking his head on a door-frame prior to the contest.
This time the world number 78 from Bagillt, North Wales, was not so fortunate as Hendry produced another top-notch performance.
The 36-year-old Scot, dominated in hammering Rob Milkins and Ryan Day 5-1 in his previous two outings at the Haidian Stadium, remained in top gear.
Walden did not pot a ball in three of the opening four frames as Hendry, chasing his 11th ranking title outside Britain, quickly established a 4-0 lead helped by breaks of 83, 77 and 95.
The fifth frame, a marathon of 35 minutes, was tighter but Hendry eventually put together a clearance of the last five colours, including a difficult black down the side cushion using the rest, to complete the whitewash.
En route to his third world-ranking event semi-final of the year Hendry has put together an impressive frames won/lost total of 15-2.
“I played very well again out there and that’s always a good feeling. That’s as good as I’ve played all season,” he said.
Hendry now faces fellow countryman Alan McManus, who reached the semi-finals of a ranking event for the first time since he was runner-up to Chris Small at the LG Cup in October 2002.
McManus advanced with a shock 5-2 victory over Mark Williams, who was out of sorts in both a health and snooker sense.
A “blinding headache” proved an insurmountable handicap for Williams in the first two frames but afterwards the Welshman refused to blame that for a display he admitted was “awful”.
“There’s no excuse for how badly I played out there. The headache wasn’t the reason, I wish I know what was,” said a disgruntled Williams, who has gone 18 months without lifting a trophy.
“The way I played was embarrassing. Form-wise I seem to go three steps forward, then four steps back. I can’t seem to sustain any form for a long period of time.
“It was exactly the same at the Irish Masters. I started off well then played terribly against Ronnie [O’Sullivan] in the semi-finals. Alan will be the first to admit that he played rubbish and still beat me easily.”
McManus got the better of a sequence of scrappy frames to lead 4-2 before wrapping up a poor quality match with a run of 52 after Williams, trying to roll in behind the black, failed to hit the cue ball hard enough and only succeeded in snookering himself.
“I knew that Mark was under the weather and that put me off. I kept wondering if he was going to be able to carry on and my concentration let me down,” said world number 10 McManus, beaten by Williams in the recent Masters at Wembley and at the Irish Masters last month.