Ali Carter reached his first ranking event semi-final in over two years by thrashing John Higgins 5-0 at the Hanteng Autos World Open in Yushan.
Carter last appeared in the semis of a full ranking event at the 2014 China Open, though he did win the minor-ranking Paul Hunter Classic last season, his first title since a successful battle against cancer.
And the 37-year-old from Chelmsford looked at the top of his game as he whitewashed four-time World Champion Higgins. Breaks of 101, 51 and 98 put world number 31 Carter 3-0 ahead, then in frame four he cleared from brown to black before potting a respotted black to extend his lead. And the three-time ranking event winner closed out victory in frame five.
“Making a century in the first frame set the trend,” said Carter. “I nicked a good frame to go 4-0 and then I just had to wait for my chance to win. It has been a long way back for me to be beating top players and to beat John is a feather in my cap. I’m just delighted to be in the semi-finals again.”
In the semi-finals on Saturday he’ll meet Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, who continued his superb run with a 5-2 victory over Anthony McGill. The result ended McGill’s hopes of winning back-to-back ranking titles having captured his maiden crown at the recent Indian Open.
World number 33 Un-Nooh, who knocked out World Champion Mark Selby earlier in the week, is into his third career ranking event semi-final and has the chance to reach his first final.
Scotland’s McGill took the opening frame with a run of 80 before Un-Nooh hit back with 73 and 60 to go 2-1 ahead. He then got the better of a scrappy fourth frame to double his lead. McGill won the next with a break of 60 before Un-Nooh’s superb 125 put him 4-2 up. McGill looked set to claw one back until he broke down on 62 in frame seven, and his opponent cleared from the last red to secure his progress.
“I just tried to play the same as I did yesterday,” said Un-Nooh. “I tried to be confident and focused. I lost to Anthony in the World Championship qualifiers so I wasn’t sure I could beat him. I like to entertain people and enjoy the game. I don’t like safety play. I’m very confident of getting to the final because I have beaten some top players here.”
Asked his view of the car produced by title sponsor Hanteng Autos, Un-Nooh replied simply: “I like it, can you give me one?”
The other quarter-final battles later on Friday will see Shaun Murphy face Joe Perry and Neil Robertson take on David Gilbert.
Winner of the title on Sunday will bank £90,000.
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