Jones had only previously appeared in one ranking event quarter-final
Jamie Jones scored a dramatic 5-4 win over Michael White at the Australian Goldfields Open to reach the semi-finals of a ranking event for the first time.
The two Welshmen, friends since their schooldays, produced an exciting battle in Bendigo, 10,700 miles away from their home town of Neath. It was world number 38 Jones who came out on top and he now meets John Higgins in the semis on Saturday. Martin Gould will face Stephen Maguire in the other match.
White, who won the Shoot-Out and Indian Open last season, led 4-2 with a top break of 68, then Jones recovered to 4-4 with runs of 63 and 51. White had first chance in the decider and made 56 before missing a tricky red after splitting the pack open. Jones took full advantage with a brilliant 66 clearance.
Jones, age 27, said: “I was 4-2 down in my first match against Mark Davis and came back to win 5-4, so I just tried to draw on that. I just had to believe in myself and hold myself together in the end. I have always believed that I could get this far in tournaments and now this is the breakthrough I needed for my confidence.
It won’t be easy tomorrow, John is a legend of the game. I’m looking forward to it and I’ll give it my best shot.
Higgins, chasing the 27th ranking title of his career, scored a 5-3 win over Joe Perry. The first six frames were shared, Perry making breaks of 136, 69 and 137 while Higgins knocked in 54, 57 and 50. A yellow-to-black clearance gave Wishaw’s Higgins frame seven, and he made a 51 in the next en route to victory.
“Joe was the better player and he was scoring more freely, I was just trying to hang on to him,” said four-time World Champion Higgins. “I managed to nick the seventh frame and that was the turning point. If he had gone 4-3 up he would probably have closed the match out.
“Jamie made a great clearance in the last frame today so he’ll be very confident and it should be a good match tomorrow. If I get to the final I would love to play Stephen Maguire – we talked about that possibility on our way over here from the World Cup.”
Londoner Gould came from 1-0 down to beat Matthew Selt 5-1, making breaks of 58, 122 and 72. He’s now aiming to reach a ranking final for the second time.
Maguire cruised to a 5-1 win over defending champion Judd Trump, with a top break of 62.
“I went 3-0 up and it was always going to be hard for Judd to come back from that,” said Maguire. “He had a chance to get to 3-2 which might have made a difference. I’ve had a good couple of weeks, getting to the World Cup final in China and now carrying on the form here. Hopefully it will be an all-Scottish final. But it will be very tough for me tomorrow because Martin has played better than anyone this week, he is scoring heavily.”
If Higgins wins the tournament he’ll match Ronnie O’Sullivan’s haul of 27 ranking titles