ALI CARTER’s 5-3 victory over Ricky Walden in the quarter-finals of the China Open ended with a farcical refereeing blunder which saw the two players down cues and leave the arena.
Walden trailed by 48 with 51 remaining in the eighth frame and failed to make contact, leaving him requiring a snooker. However, Chinese referee Shi Jialong called a miss, a decision Walden questioned.
Carter seemed unsure as to whether the decision was correct and the two players left the arena and sought out another referee for a second opinion. Jan Verhaas ruled that Shi had been wrong and play continued with Carter playing from where the cue ball had landed.
Walden won the opening frame but Carter, appearing in his first ranking event quarter-final of the season, pulled away to lead 3-1 with breaks of 61, 71 and 55.
Carter was looking good for a 4-1 lead but missed a black off its spot on 32 in the fifth and Walden stepped in for a 73 clearance.
Cueing with greater confidence, Walden then won the sixth as well to level at 3-3 but Carter eventually doubled the yellow to win the seventh before the drama of the last.
“I played well today in patches. I felt I had the game won at 3-1, then he came back to 3-3 and I felt I had let him back into it so I had to dig in. I potted some good balls and had him in trouble in the last frame.”
World no.1 Neil Robertson held off a typically determined Graeme Dott to keep his title defence on track.
Robertson won the fifth frame on a re-spotted black to lead 4-1 but made little impact in the next two frames as Dott rallied to 4-3. However, two scoring visits were sufficient for Robertson to secure a 5-3 victory and set up a semi-final meeting with Carter.
The Australian is attempting to win the tenth ranking title of his career and his third this season after victories at the Wuxi Classic and UK Championship.
Photographs by Monique Limbos.