GRAEME Dott did not know whether to laugh or cry after he reached the semi-finals of the Masters for the first time in 11 attempts despite still playing well below the sort of form that once earned him a world title.
He was not made to work particularly hard for his win as he destroyed Judd Trump, the pre-tournament favourite, 6-1. Trump, the world No.2, was way below his best as the Scot coasted into a 4-1 lead despite a highest break of only 36. Then, with Trump all but throwing in the towel, the world No.12 took full advantage to rattle in breaks of 54 and 111 and seal an easy win.
The 35-year-old admitted that Trump's below-par performance had unsettled his rhythm. "It's good to have won but I never really felt I was winning easily," he said. "Both of us were struggling and I just happened to be pinching the scrappy frames and built a bit of a lead.
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"The fact that Judd was off his game put me off a bit. I went out there expecting to have to be so careful because he normally punishes you but, when he started missing, suddenly the pressure came on to me to make sure that I didn't let those opportunities go to waste. So, it can be off-putting."
Although he may not be the player he was when he won the biggest title in the game back in 2006, Dott can see signs that his best game might be returning.
"Things are slowly coming together for me," he added. "My cueing was a big improvement on my match with Stephen [Maguire] in the first round but there's more work to be done."
Trump has not looked himself since he won the International Championship in China last autumn. He was knocked out of the UK Championship in the first round but it is hard to recall a poorer performance from him since he rose to prominence at the 2011 World Championship.
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