Snooker: Hendry rolls back the years

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The Independent Online

Stephen Hendry's attempt to win his sixth Maplin UK title 10 years after his fifth, gathered momentum as he established a 5-3 interval lead over Graeme Dott, the world champion, in their best of 17 frames semi-final at York. Peter Ebdon, through to today's final with a 9-7 win over John Higgins on Friday, stands as his potential last hurdle.

Hendry's recapture of the intensity of desire which was key to his dominance of the last decade of the 20th century has arisen from not having won a title since the Malta Cup of February 2005. His hunger for success was reflected by his decision to increase his practice schedule to five or six hours daily and earlier this week he gave short shrift to a suggestion that he was in the early throes of an inevitable decline.

Asked why he should be different to other players in this respect, he replied: "Because they're not as good as me" - a self-assessment he has supported in his performances this week.

Dott has been more fluent than he was in beating Ebdon for the world title last spring but, after taking yesterday's opening frame, breaks of 133, 61 and 69 assisted Hendry to his two-frame interval advantage.

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