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Ronnie O'Sullivan was in inspiration form during the afternoon session.
Ronnie O'Sullivan 6-2 Shaun Murphy
Shaun Murphy took the initiative right from the off against Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Steve Davis in live commentary on BBC TV described it as “a dream start,” and Murphy’s smooth action and lack of nervousness at the table saw him take the opening two frames.
A 101 break in the opener could have been swiftly followed by another century but a missed pink put paid to that.
The third frame became a comedy of errors from both players. Their cat-and-mouse game was eventually taken on the black by O’Sullivan after a massive mistake by Murphy on the brown. 67-64 the score.
The Romford-born potter levelled the match and moved ahead. Some masterful potting in a 72 break saw his confidence return, whilst Murphy’s lack of precision was neutralizing any threat he would otherwise have had in a frame O’Sullivan eventually took 131-0.
Not to be outdone, and despite missing a black off of the spot, Murphy came roaring back. The frame was there for the taking but a ridiculous and elementary mistake when potting the blue let O’Sullivan back in to take it on the black.
Frame seven was all about O’Sullivan. Another mistake from Murphy as he attempted to power into the reds let in O’Sullivan for a break of 94 which saw him surge 5-2 ahead.
Steve Davis noted again in live commentary on the BBC:
Mentally this is going to be very damaging to Shaun Murphy, He’s got one frame left, his opponent’s just starting to hit form and he’s just got to win it. I think I’d advise a quick trip outside as he’s got to regroup.
A relentless “Rocket” masterclass didn't allow Murphy a sniff and he rattled off a 136 break to end the session four frames ahead.
Judd Trump 6-2 Neil Robertson
The other game in the session started off as a much more cagey affair, early safety shots a feature play.
There was no real life to proceedings with neither player willing to take risks, and so the opening frames were a bit of a turn-off compared to the other quarter-final.
Eventually the match sparked into life and some spirited play saw Trump move into pole position, taking four frames in a row after losing the first 59-3.
Robertson should really have gone into the mid-session break level but a long missed red allowed Trump to take the fourth frame 68-49.
A 107 from Trump in the first frame after the break continued to set the tone and frame six looked like heading the same way as Trump built up a 64 point lead.
Decent safety play from Robertson curtailed his march to success, but safety shots exchanged, Trump benefited from a kiss on the pink as he edged further ahead in the frame.
A stunning long red left Robertson needing snookers and TV pictures would show him slumped in his chair, devoid of confidence. He would get another visit to the table but his immaculate potting at that stage was far too late as Trump took it 76-35.
Things looked a little brighter for Robertson in the penultimate frame as he built up a slender lead but ultimately this became another chess-game much like the earlier frames, as shot after shot went to safety.
It was agonisingly slow shot play, and a monotony that was thankfully lacking in the other match.
With the balls spread nicely, Robertson’s beautiful red to the centre set him up to see the frame out, however and easier red to the opposite pocket was missed, leaving the table open for Trump.
Two mistakes couldn’t be initially capitalized on by Robertson, and BBC Sport’s Terry Griffiths noted of the latter:
I’m not quite sure if he’s slightly unwell, he keeps coughing and wiping his brow […] he looks out of sorts.
However, another Trump mistake was seized upon and a 33 break saw Robertson stop the rot, winning the frame on the black.
It was a brief respite however as another simple miss on a red into the corner pocket allowed Trump to clear up. His break of 117 was well-built with each shot studiously assessed before potting. An overnight lead of 6-2 was a fair reflection of the afternoon’s play.