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  Friday, 9 February, 2001, 23:57 GMT
O'Brien wins old pals act
Ken Doherty
Doherty never really applied any pressure on O'Brien
Fergal O'Brien 6-2 Ken Doherty

Fergal O'Brien achieved one of the most satisfying results of his career at Wembley on Friday, defeating fellow Irishman Ken Doherty to reach the semi-finals of the 650,000 Benson and Hedges Masters.

O'Brien stunned the recently crowned Welsh Open winner 6-2 and now plays Dave Harold, who beat John Parrott 6-5 after trailing 5-1, on Saturday for a place in the final.

And when world number nine O'Brien opened up a similar lead on his Nations Cup team-mate, a member of the crowd shouted out, "Come on Fergal, do a John Parrott".

"It did cross my mind that the same thing could happen to me," said O' Brien.


It's a big win for me because Ken isn't just a fellow countryman, he's a good friend
Fergal O'Brien
"When you are playing the best and you stop playing and get a bit tight, you are by no means home and dry.

"But fortunately I managed to take my chances. It's a big win for me because Ken isn't just a fellow countryman, he's a good friend and a practice partner."

O'Brien, a last 16 winner against world champion and world number one Mark Williams, made the perfect start.

He knocked in breaks of 84, 64 and 61 to lead 3-0 while Doherty managed only four points in reply.

O'Brien, controversially called for slow play in last month's Nations Cup, ground out a 46-minute fourth frame to reach the interval 4-0 ahead.


I'll just have to lick my wounds and wait for the next one
Ken Doherty
Doherty came out all guns blazing after the break and a run of 83 opened his account, but he wasted chances to cut his arrears to 4-2 and O'Brien moved one frame closer to the last four.

Doherty briefly threatened O'Brien when he clinched frame seven and he was in a good position to take the eighth as well.

Instead, he missed the final brown and O'Brien potted brown to black to complete his 6-2 success.

"I really thought it was going to be another good week for me," said Doherty, a Masters runner-up for the last two years.

"I'll just have to lick my wounds and wait for the next one," added the world number seven.

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