/ Snooker

Carter takes step closer to second World Championship final

Updated: Friday, 04 May 2012 22:42

Ali Carter nearly quit the game because of Crohn's disease
Ali Carter nearly quit the game because of Crohn's disease

Ali Carter was considering retirement at the turn of the year, but now a second appearance in the World Championship final beckons for the 32-year-old from Tiptree.

He leads Stephen Maguire 14-10 overnight after dominating a large part of their two sessions today.

The final three frames of the day went Maguire's way though as he belatedly found some mental poise, but the Scot still faces a tall order when they play to a finish tomorrow afternoon.

As the effect of Crohn's disease, the condition Carter was diagnosed with nine years ago, began to take a drastic physical toll, he went to the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association to request a year-long sabbatical.

It did not come to that, and Carter's health has improved markedly thanks to a no-wheat, no-dairy diet, albeit with a setback this week when he complained of feeling badly bloated after eating a steak.

He vowed after beating Jamie Jones in the quarter-finals that illness would not obstruct his Crucible mission, and Carter used all his guile to back Maguire into a corner he will do well to fight his way out of.

In the morning session, which saw Carter move from 5-3 to 10-6 ahead, Maguire twice lost his cool, firstly with a wild attempt to escape from a snooker and then when he thumped the table to draw gasps from spectators. He later appeared to question the judgement of referee Leo Scullion, his fellow Glaswegian, when a foul was called against him.

Maguire fired a 142 break shortly before lunch, while 134 and 73 in the space of three frames tonight nudged Carter to 14-7.

A strategy hinging on safety-first tactics made Carter a frustrating opponent for Maguire, but when the Scot fired breaks of 72 and 70, before pinching the final frame of the day, he at least had a platform to build from tomorrow.

The winner of this match will meet either Ronnie O'Sullivan or Matthew Stevens. O'Sullivan leads 11-5.

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