Snooker: Robidoux reaches semi-final

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It was not exactly a thriller but Alain Robidoux is not complaining. The French-Canadian earned his first semi-final place since 1989 when he beat Stephen Lee 5-2 at the Sweater Shop International Open in Swindon yesterday.

"I was so nervous before the end I could hardly let the cue go," Robidoux said. "I really felt the pressure towards the end because it's been such a long time since I got this far. In fact, I feared I might never get to a semi-final again. I'd not been cueing properly and then I decided to change my stance because I was too square on."

Having broken his barren run, the world No 20 now wants to demonstrate to the large, enthusiastic audience at the Link Centre that he can play impressive snooker. He played well only in patches against the 21-year- old former English amateur champion from Trowbridge.

Robidoux finally secured the opening frame after 29 minutes, but he lost the second frame after a gruelling 51 minutes when Lee obtained a snooker to pinch it on the black. At the mid-session interval, Robidoux was all square and he pulled away with runs of 63, 47 and 27.

"I could have played a lot better," Lee said. "Alain is very solid and he's never going to be a pushover. He was continually slowing the match down and I could not get any rhythm."

A 129 clearance, the highest break of the televised stages, was the highlight of John Higgins' 5-2 victory over Karl Broughton, which lined up the defending champion to face Robidoux.