Ronnie O’Sullivan v Mark Selby is a snooker rivalry to stand with the best of them because it features contrasting styles and personalities.
O’Sullivan is fast, Selby more methodical. O’Sullivan wears his heart on his sleeve, Selby usually keeps his emotions inside.
But they are both great talents and their Welsh Open semi-final tonight is one to relish. It was here at Newport four years ago that Selby won the last four frames to beat O’Sullivan 9-8 and win the title.
O’Sullivan was very impressive in beating Judd Trump 5-3. He has now moved exactly 100 centuries behind Stephen Hendry on the all time list.
Anyone who still doesn’t understand why Selby is world no.1 should rewatch the last two frames of his match against Stephen Maguire.
It was a lesson in attitude, guts and brinkmanship. Selby should have gone out in the first round but he is still here, just as O’Sullivan survived to the last ball in Germany after his great last 32 escape with Andrew Higginson.
First up is Shaun Murphy v Ding Junhui. Ding’s 5-4 quarter-final victory over Stephen Lee last night ended in horrible fashion when a mobile phone went off just as Lee was down on the green with a chance to win.
There’s no evidence that this was deliberate but it was appalling for Lee who was understandably livid.
Spectators are told to turn their phones off by the MC before the match but I remember saying on commentary at the World Championship two years ago that the audience should be reminded by the referee after the interval as well because, quite obviously, they will switch their phones back on during this 15 minute break.
Murphy won the last two frames to beat Mark Allen 5-4. Allen gamely played on for three snookers in the decider and got two of them.
The skill on show here, coupled with the sporting atmosphere in which it was played, made this one of the best frames of the tournament.