Snooker: Hendry responds to second alarm

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STEPHEN HENDRY survived a spirited late fight-back from Ken Doherty to remain on course for back-to-back world ranking tournament victories in Plymouth.

The six-times world champion, successful at the Thailand Masters last month, reached the final of the British Open with a hard-fought 6-4 victory over his Irish rival.

When Hendry, playing conservatively and showing unusual patience, included breaks of 66 twice, 52 and 48 in establishing a 5-1 advantage, Doherty appeared to be heading for an embarrassingly heavy reverse.

But Hendry's concentration seemed to be broken by a backstage alarm clock in frame seven and Doherty snatched it on the blue from 47 points adrift and the whole complexion of the contest suddenly changed.

Doherty then thumped in breaks of 74 and 81 - which included 11 reds and 10 blacks at the start of frame nine - as he rallied to only 5-4 behind.

In fact Doherty had the opportunity to pocket the keys to a Toyota Celica and a pounds 5,000 cash bonus for a maximum 147 until he marginally overcut a difficult black off its spot.

The comeback stopped there, however, as Hendry retained sufficient composure to construct an 83 break in frame 10 to complete his fifth successive victory over Doherty since losing to him in the final of last year's Embassy World Championship. "I should have won 6-1 but I let Ken hit back," he quipped.

Hendry, who will be appearing in the 88th final of his 13-year professional career, has now prevailed in 10 successive world ranking event matches. He has met fellow Scot John Higgins - a 6-4 semi-final conqueror of title holder Mark Williams - on only two previous occasions in a major final and has won them both.

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