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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 May, 2003, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Doherty wins Crucible epic
By Dan Warren
BBC Sport at the Crucible

Ken Doherty
Doherty pulled off a stunning comeback

Ken Doherty produced one of the greatest comebacks in Crucible history to beat Paul Hunter 17-16 and reach the final of the World Championship.

Trailing 15-9 at the start of play on Saturday, Doherty knew Hunter only needed two frames to win the match.

But the Irishman showed amazing nerve to take the first five frames.

"It was the most incredible game I have ever played in," said Doherty.

"I always believe that I have a chance. I always say to myself, if you dream about it, it will come true. It's one of the best feelings.

"I thought if I keep taking frames it is going to get harder and harder for him. If you keep crawling back, then sometimes the tie can be won."

I am devastated but hopefully it will make me stronger
Paul Hunter

Doherty revealed he used the fear from his near-collapse against John Higgins to inspire him to his amazing win.

The Irishman saw his 10-0 lead evaporate to 10-7 against the Scot in the quarter-finals before he rallied to win 13-8.

"Against Paul, I put myself in the position of John Higgins when he was playing me," said Doherty.

"I was feeling the pressure in that match. I put Paul in my shoes and just kept chipping away at his lead."

Hunter remained philosophical despite missing out on a first-ever appearance in a Crucible final.

"I just didn't get any rub of the green at all. I am devastated but hopefully it will make me stronger," he said.

"Ken stuck in there all the way. I knew he would but it's only a game and I'll come back fighting, well hopefully.

"This has been a great learning curve for me. It just wasn't to be my championship this year."

Both players made a host of errors in the tensest of situations, but after Hunter moved 16-14 ahead, Doherty dug deep to produce a sensational finish.

Semi-final result (best of 33 frames):
Ken Doherty (Ire) 17-16 Paul Hunter (Eng)
33-66, 13-93 (62), 71-0 (67), 32-67, 33-90 (52), 70-62, 43-57, 30-73, 94-0 (62), 115-20 (111), 10-111 (50,61), 12-75 (73), 0-139 (135), 115-0 (115), 4-84 (84), 52-67, 92-0, 92-0, 59-75 (59 Doherty, 75 Hunter), 77-34, 41-59, 59-22, 67-56, 19-75 (74), 35-74 (54), 73-0 (73), 94-19 (93), 63-62, 60-52 (60), 74-38, 46-70, 78-58, 56-15, 73-6

Ken Doherty
"It was a gripping match"

Paul Hunter
"It just wasn't my day"

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