Snooker: Hann passes test of nerve

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The Independent Online

Quinten Hann showed both sides of his volatile temperament as he caused the biggest shock so far of this year's World Championship at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre last night.

The 24-year-old Australian, a former male model, has been involved in his fair share of controversy since his emergence on the circuit and more occurred on the way to his dramatic 10-9 victory over Paul Hunter.

It was a terrific match which was briefly interrupted early in the deciding session by the Crucible's first streaker. But an exciting finish looked most unlikely earlier in the day when the world No 25 Hann, who has acquired a reputation for adopting a defeatist attitude when things are going against him, showed signs of cracking again.

He had just gone 4-1 down to the ninth seed Hunter when he broke off in frame six by smashing the cue ball into the pack of reds as if it was a game of pool. The reds scattered across the table and inevitably the double Masters champion Hunter was left with a simple chance to make a sizeable break, knocking in a 77 to extend his lead further.

But rather than give up the fight as he had done against Ronnie O'Sullivan in the 2000 Grand Prix at Telford ­ earning a reprimand for unprofessional behaviour ­ Hann regrouped and ended the session 6-3 down.

He came out fired up after the interval and won six of the first seven frames to lead 9-7 before Hunter showed his battling qualities to level. Hann's nerve was put to the ultimate test in the decider but he produced two stunning plants to nudge ahead, and after Hunter suffered a terrible kick on the black when set to clear up, he made a 15 which was enough to progress.

"I started to hit the ball really well tonight," Hann said. "But I had a lot of luck as well. At 9-9 I thought I'd get shafted. I didn't think Paul would miss even though he had the kick on the black. In the end, it came down to one shot."

Hann defended himself over smashing the pack of reds, saying: "I don't think it's that bad. I've done it before and I always seem to get caned for it by the media. I just lost it a bit because I thought I had no chance."

Jimmy White was in emphatic form beating Dominic Dale 10-2. It was a massive improvement on the opening session for the "Whirlwind", who was pulled off the table for the first time in his career because of the slow pace. But last night he quickly disposed of a clearly out-of-sorts Dale.

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