Snooker: Hunter edges past Williams to semi-final

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The Independent Online

Paul Hunter admits that Mark Williams is his bogey opponent, but the laid-back Leeds player usually reserves his best form for the world champion at the Masters.

Paul Hunter admits that Mark Williams is his bogey opponent, but the laid-back Leeds player usually reserves his best form for the world champion at the Masters.

The Yorkshireman denied Williams the 2002 Wembley title and yesterday he ended the defending champion's reign at the quarter-final stage.

In a match of shifting fortunes at the Conference Centre he led 3-1, trailed 5-4 but then claimed the final two frames for a semi-final against John Higgins or Stephen Lee.

Williams, whose form has dipped since he lifted the LG Cup last October, looked to have lost his chance as Hunter knocked in a 63 break to lead 63-16 in the last frame. But the world No 8 missed a red and Williams sensed a reprieve, reaching 22 and needing to pot the colours to steal the match by two points. However, he missed the final yellow and conceded shortly afterwards as Hunter sank yellow and green.

Hunter, chasing his third Masters title in four years, said: "Every snooker player has their own bogeyman and Mark is mine - but not today."

Hunter's win was only his third in 13 meetings against the world No 1. "I really thought Mark was going to clear up at the end," he added. "However, that's when I play my best snooker. With a one-frame shoot-out it's anyone's match."

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