Hendry shows his usual mastery

Click to follow
Stephen Hendry reached the final of the Benson and Hedges Masters for the seventh time in eighth years when he beat his fellow countryman Alan McManus 6-4 at Wembley on Saturday night.

Hendry, winner of the Regal Scottish Masters, Skoda Grand Prix and UK Championship so far this season, said: "My form drifted in and out during the match, but it's always a great feeling to get through to the final of this event. Alan is very tough to beat."

McManus, the player responsible for ending Hendry's five-year unbeaten run in the Masters with a 9-8 victory in the 1994 final, made the better start.

When Hendry unexpectedly missed a simple yellow off its spot in the opening frame, McManus stepped in with a clearance to pink and led 2-0 thanks to a 78 break in the second.

But the world No 1 produced a typically emphatic response to go into the mid-session interval on level terms at 2-2.

He won the third frame with a 121 break before following up with a run of 86.

McManus was to suffer another body blow in frame five. Leading 58-13, the Glaswegian jawed a black from short range and Hendry produced a 59 clearance to snatch a 3-2 lead.

At that point the favourite looked ready to take control the contest, but McManus knocked in two 61 breaks to regain control at 4-3.

Hendry tied the scores once again at 4-4, then kept his patience to prevail in a low scoring ninth frame, before he applied the finishing touches with a composed contribution of 61.

In yesterday's best-of-19-frames final, Hendry took an early 6-2 lead against England's Ronnie O'Sullivan, who took only 88 minutes to beat Andy Hicks 6-1 in the other semi-final.

O'Sullivan is suffering from damaged ligaments to his foot he sustained on Thursday when kicking an immovable concrete plant pot. "There was no problem today and I cannot thank the people enough who worked on the foot for three or four hours yesterday. They used laser treatment and creams, and I could feel it getting better," the defending champion said on Saturday.