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[an error occurred while processing this directive] banner Thursday, 7 February, 2002, 23:39 GMT
Hunter wins thriller
Paul Hunter
Paul Hunter remains on course to defend his title
By the BBC's Clive Jones at Wembley

Defending champion Paul Hunter rallied to win the last two frames and clinch a 6-5 quarter-final win over Peter Ebdon at the Benson & Hedges Masters.

Hunter had the better of the early exchanges as breaks of 54 and 105 gave him a 3-1 interval lead.

Even when I was 3-1 up, I knew he would come back
Paul Hunter
But Ebdon bounced back to level matters after some tight exchanges before moving into a 5-4 lead with the help of a 76 break in the eighth frame.

Hunter responded with a 55 to take it into the decider then held his nerve to clinch victory with an 80.

The champion knew beforehand he would be in for a tough match.

"Even when I was 3-1 up, I knew he would come back," said Hunter.

"I felt comfortable when I got amongst the balls, but it is so difficult playing against him."

Hunter now takes on Alan McManus for a place in the final and

"Alan didn't play well today, but it will be a different match on Saturday," said Hunter.

Live coverage of B&H Masters snooker on BBC TV and Ceefax page 350.

BBC snooker commentator Clive Everton
"Wembley conference centre will be bulging at the seams"
Paul Hunter
"I felt so relaxed out there"
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