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Last Updated: Monday, 24 November, 2003, 20:55 GMT
Hunter sneaks through
Paul Hunter in action at The Crucible in Thursday's semi-final
Paul Hunter held his nerve to edge Mark King out of the UK Championships.

King recovered from 7-4 down to force a deciding frame, but Hunter came through 9-8.

He needed a bit of fortune, fluking a red at a crucial moment in the final frame when King would have had a good chance of a substantial break.

Hunter now faces Matthew Stevens or James Wattana in the quarter-finals.

"You cannot play well all the time and I just had to keep battling away," said Hunter.

"I heard Steve Davis and John Parrott say that best of nines are the toss of a coin.

"But best of 17s are getting like that now. Everyone is hungry.

"I don't really enjoy frames like we had in the decider with the balls all over the table.

"Whoever gets in first is going to win. I had to take on a tricky red and fortunately I got lucky."

King appears to be recovering from last month's trauma of seeing his mother jailed for murder.

"A lot of people think it's all about winning but it's having peace with yourself," he said.

"This has been the first tournament I have fancied coming to and playing well."

Quinten Hann produced another shock by beating former world champion Peter Ebdon.

Hann had produced arguably the finest sustained spell of his career on Sunday by coming from 3-0 down to lead 5-3.

Then when Ebdon closed a 7-3 deficit to 7-6, helped by an 11th-frame break of 104, Hann's notoriously brittle temperament did not let him down.

He made 58 to lead 8-6 and then added an excellent 67 to ensure a memorable win.

"I am pretty proud of that win," he said.

Earlier Barry Pinches ended a 14-year wait by reaching his first ever ranking tournament quarter-final.

He beat Stephen Lee 9-6 and next faces Stephen Hendry or Ali Carter.

Pinches won the English amateur title in 1988 and finished runner-up to James Wattana 12 months later in the world amateur championship.

"Since then I've watched all these young kids coming through and I've never thought they could do something I couldn't do."

Nigel Bond came from 8-6 down to defeat world number 16 Joe Perry 9-8.

He will now play Jimmy White or Fergal O'Brien in the quarters.





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