Wednesday 21 February 2018

Doherty turns back the clock

Phil Yates

With his son Christian in the front row and his wife's family leading the cheering section, Ken Doherty yesterday reached the semi-finals of a world ranking tournament for the first time in five years.

Doherty, on the verge of retirement after an appalling run of results two seasons ago, made the last four of the Australian Goldfields Open in Bendigo with a 5-3 victory over Mark Selby.

"My recent inspiration has been Darren Clarke winning The Open at the age of 42. It makes you realise you can get back to where you were and compete again," said Doherty, 41. "I hope I'm celebrating on Sunday like Darren did at Royal St George's last week."

"From the beginning of the match I had the attitude that I was going to go out there with nothing to lose and I felt as relaxed as I have been for a very long time."

Doherty secured the 36th world ranking event semi-final appearance of his career, but first since the 2006 China Open in Beijing, with a solid all-round performance that began with a 78 break from his opening opportunity in the first frame.

From 1-1, Doherty pulled away to 4-1, helped by a 94 break in the third frame and stealing the fifth frame with a brown to pink clearance.

Selby cut the deficit to 4-3 and looked sure to carry the match its full distance when he led 58-1 with only four reds remaining in the eighth frame.

But, given a half-chance, Doherty produced an outstanding 59 clearance to steal it on the black and set up a semi-final today with Mark Williams, the world No 1.

"That was my best clearance as a professional. To close out a match of that importance against a player as good as Mark from that position, that was the best," declared Doherty.

Australian Goldfields Open

Live, Eurosport, 10.30

Irish Independent

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