Darren Morgan rolled back the years to reach the quarter-finals of the Riga Masters on Thursday.
The amateur Welshman, a former world no. 8, has already won four matches this week to reach the last eight – including a 4-3 victory over Ken Doherty in the third round.
Morgan earned an invitation to play after winning the EBSA European Open a few weeks ago in Lithuania, where he also picked up a brace of European Masters titles.
The 50 year-old hasn’t had professional status since 2007 but has dominated the amateur masters scene since then and also has had success in the World Seniors.
Clearly in form following his recent amateur success, Morgan benefited from an open draw that saw him placed in a top quarter that featured no players from inside the top 16.
Indeed, his first two opponents were amateurs themselves before dispatching of young Chinese Zhao Xintong and fellow veteran Doherty.
Regardless, it’s a testament to his ability to still be able to play the game to a high level and makes one wonder why he never attended Q-School down through the years or the now defunct PTCs.
Were Morgan to go on and capture the trophy in Latvia on Friday it would be one of the most remarkable results in snooker history.
From here on out it gets much tougher for the former World Championship semi-finalist, though, as he next faces former ranking event runner-up Xiao Guodong before a potential clash with either Neil Robertson or Judd Trump.
Robertson overcame Matthew Stevens 4-1 in the last 16 while Trump withstood the challenge of John Higgins to prevail 4-2.
The pair meet for the first time since the Masters in January, when Trump prevailed in a high-scoring classic 6-5.
The bottom half of the draw features Mark Williams, who is seeking his first title of note in three years.
The Welshman was once again quoted this week as saying that he doesn’t believe he can win any more tournaments, which is getting a bit boring these days as it’s clearly not true.
The 41 year-old came from 2-0 behind to oust Ali Carter and will play the much-improved John Astley for a semi-final berth.
Astley has recorded impressive victories over Joe Perry, Andy Hicks and Jimmy Robertson to reach this stage of a professional event for the first time in his career.
Meanwhile, Michael Holt, who previously knocked out world champion Mark Selby on Wednesday, continued his form by pinching a 4-3 triumph against Stuart Bingham.
Holt will play Anthony McGill after the Scot whitewashed teenager Yan Bingtao.
All three of the final rounds will be contested on Friday as the first champion of the season is determined.
Categories: Snooker News