The Star Xing Pai Haikou World Open snooker tournament has been taking place in China this week and is now at the semi-final stages. The two remaining matches, as World Snooker
details, will be contested by four English players. The matches are:
Robert Milkins v Stephen Lee
Mark Allen v Mark Selby
The surprise of the tournament so far is Robert Milkins, who is ranked a comparatively low 38 in the world rankings. To reach the last four stage, Milkins beat the current world champion John Higgins 5-3 in the quarter-finals and in the last-16 he beat the Chinese player Jin Long.
On his victory over Higgins, Robert Milkins is quoted by the BBC
""I played really well and John played really well too, so it was a shame to see a loser. I've never beaten John but to beat him like that when he was playing so well was extra special for me."
Of all the Chinese players who took part, Jin Long was the most successful. Long himself beat China's leading player Ding Junhui by 5 frames to 1 in the last-32. This was described by Pro Snooker
as "a real shock".
The favorite for the tournament is Mark Selby
, the current world number 1 and winner of the recent Shanghai Masters and runner-up for the last ranking tournament on the snooker circuit, the Welsh Open
. However, the player with the most impressive form is Stephen Lee, who has experienced a recent run of poor results. In his quarter-final match, Lee compiled three century breaks in overcoming former world champion Neil Robertson of Australia.
The semi-finals promise to be exciting matches. The tournament is being held at Haikou Stadium, Haikou, China and it comes to a conclusion this weekend. The winner
will pick up a check for almost $120,000 (£75,000).