Snooker: Hamilton earns his wins

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The Independent Online
IF ANTHONY HAMILTON goes on to win his first ranking title in Plymouth on Sunday, the Nottingham professional will certainly have earned his trophy and the pounds 60,000 first prize.

The world No 11 reached the quarter-finals of the British Open last night with his third successive deciding-frame victory. He completed his hat- trick of 5-4 wins by knocking out this season's triple champion Mark Williams, following from his excellent victories over two of the game's brightest young talents, Marco Fu from Hong Kong and the 1998 Welsh Open champion, Paul Hunter.

However, Hamilton has an even tougher challenge to come. Having come from 36-0 down in the decider to beat the Irish, Welsh and Thai Open champion Williams, he now meets the six times world champion, Stephen Hendry.

"I should have won 5-3 but I twitched in the eighth frame," Hamilton said. "So I was pleased to make a 50 break in the last." Earlier, Hamilton's break of 134 had taken him into a 2-0 lead before Williams squared the match by half-time. Hamilton won the next two to lead 4-2 but lost frames seven and eight, including the seventh to a break of 128.

In the decider Williams made 36, only to miss a black. Hamilton's 59 proved decisive, and he finally won the match by potting the blue.

Hendry, last year's runner-up, produced his best snooker when he needed it most. The world No 2 trailed the Essex left hander Mark King 4-2 but allowed him only 15 points in the closing three frames.

Hendry began his comeback with a break of exactly 100, made 41 in the eighth and then sealed victory with a 137 clearance in the decider.

"Coming back from 3-1 and 4-2 down gives you a lot of satisfaction," Hendry said. "I'm playing better than I was earlier in the season and winning breeds confidence.

"This win proves I am still able to win under pressure," the Scot added, "and I'm not giving games up as I might have done a few months ago."