Snooker: Hunter takes another scalp and is now ready to rein in Ebdon

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The Independent Online
Paul Hunter defied a lack of experience to reach the semi finals of the pounds 350,000 Regal Welsh Open in Newport yesterday as he beat a player in the top 16 for the third time in the event.

The 19-year-old from Leeds, already responsible for the elimination of the six-times world champion, Steve Davis, and the eighth seed, Nigel Bond, scored a 5-3 victory over Alan McManus.

"I'm delighted with that and now I can't wait for my next match," said Hunter, who, regardless of the outcome of today's match with Peter Ebdon, is guaranteed at least pounds 16,000 - the largest single cheque of his three- year professional career.

Hunter opened with a break of 68 but McManus, who fluked a blue on 41, replied with a 125 total clearance in the second and, aided by a run of 82, moved 2-1 ahead.

McManus missed a straightforward pink early in the fourth when presented with another golden scoring opportunity and Hunter eventually took a scrappy affair to level at 2-2.

A green to pink clearance enabled McManus to regain the advantage of 3-2 but, in the remaining frames, a sequence of errors undermined his chances.

Hunter, the world No 43, levelled at 3-3 with a 49 break, put together a 57 in the seventh when McManus had jawed an elementary red, and then held on in the eighth after posting a contribution of 67.