Masters 2020: Ali Carter to meet Shaun Murphy in the semi-final

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Carter beats Higgins to reach Masters semi-finals - best shots
2020 Dafabet Masters on the BBC
Dates: 12-19 January Venue: Alexandra Palace, London
Coverage: Watch live across BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app.

Ali Carter scrapped to a late-night 6-3 win over two-time champion John Higgins to reach the semi-finals of the Masters at Alexandra Palace.

Carter, 17th in the world rankings, is only in the event as Ronnie O'Sullivan decided not to enter, and made just one break of 50 or more in the match.

Higgins trailed 4-1 and although he pulled it back to 4-3, Carter kept his cool by taking the next two to advance.

He will face fellow Englishman Shaun Murphy, after he beat Joe Perry 6-3.

The evening match was slow going, but Carter took a frame lasting nearly half-an-hour to battle his way to a three-frame advantage.

Higgins responded with quick fire breaks of 140 and 73 to trail by one, but Carter snatched another long frame to go one from victory but with some controversy.

He missed an attempted safety on the yellow and the referee correctly called a foul, but Carter said he had hit the ball. Bulgaria's Desislava Bozhilova took the player's word and reversed her decision.

And he left his best until the last, making a frame-winning contribution of 72 to progress to the last four for the first time in his career.

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Snooker: Ali Carter overturns referees decision on yellow - but was he right?

Murphy into final four for first time since 2015

Former Masters champion Shaun Murphy reached the semi-finals for the first time in five years.

The 2015 winner struggled last season but has been close to his best this term, winning the China Championship in September.

He was in high-scoring form against Perry, making breaks of 51, 60, 66 and 120 to progress at Alexandra Palace.

After four frames, Murphy held a 3-1 lead and although Perry had a chance to hit back for 4-3, his break ended on 50.

That left 2005 world champion Murphy to clear the table before snatching the next frame to secure victory.

Shaun Murphy
Shaun Murphy won the Masters in 2015 and lost in the final in 2012

"That was tough. Joe was so unlucky so many times, and but for that the match would've been a lot closer," said Murphy.

"I got up today and it was Masters quarter-final day. Deep down I'm still the 11-12-year-old that went to the [Wembley] Conference Centre dreaming of playing in it.

"It was a big match for me and I had not been in this situation for five years, but I would just like to be a little bit more clinical.

"Technically I'm a better player than I was five years ago, but I scored heavier then and I've only had one century break. If I could just up the scoring a bit, I would be happy."

The first round saw a number of high-profile casualties, including defending champion Judd Trump, UK Championship winner Ding Junhui, three-time world champion Mark Selby and Australia's Neil Robertson, while Ronnie O'Sullivan did not enter the tournament.

Perry, 45, who beat Ding 6-3 in his first-round match, was unhappy with his performance against Murphy and said: "There were simple shots I was messing up and I didn't get into any rhythm as I was chasing the cue ball around the table.

"They say the balls don't forgive you, I didn't miss lots but played a lot of bad shots, couldn't control the cue ball and found myself the wrong side of the balls and it snowballed out of control.

"It was not a great day at the office, but onwards and upwards."

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