In-Form Day Knocks Out Selby
Ryan Day remained on course to win a rare hat-trick of titles as he scored a 6-3 win over world number one Mark Selby at the Ladbrokes Players Championship.
Day has already captured the Gibraltar Open and Romanian Snooker Masters titles this month and is aiming to become the first player to win three consecutive tournaments since John Higgins in 2001. He goes through to the quarter-finals in Llandudno for an all-Welsh derby against Mark Williams on Thursday evening (tickets still available, for details click here).
Today’s result also gives 37-year-old Day what could be a vital boost in the world rankings as he goes ahead of Mark Allen into 16th place in the Race to the Crucible, although Day may still need to win at least more match this week to be sure of a place in the top 16 when the seeding cut-off for the World Championship falls after the China Open.
In contrast to Day, Selby is going through one of his worst runs of form in recent years. Since winning the International Championship in November, three-time Crucible king Selby has failed to reach the final of any tournament and has suffered several early exits.
Day took the opening frame today with a break of 107 then got the better of a safety battle on the final black in the second to go 2-0 up. Selby pulled one back with a 96 but Day’s green-to-black clearance in the fourth made it 3-1 at the interval.
A run of 63 from Day made it 4-1 then Selby threatened a fight back as breaks of 51 and 71 helped get him back to 4-3. But he didn’t score a point in the last two frames as Day won the eighth with runs of 47 and 38 then finished in style in the ninth with a 133 total clearance.
“It’s a great win for me and I want to maintain this run of form for as long as possible,” said Pontycymer’s Day. “The fourth frame was important today because if it had gone 2-2 at the interval it could have been different. Then at 4-3 it looked like going close so I was pleased to play well in the last two frames.
“This is a big event and I’ll be giving it everything against Mark (Williams) in the next round. It’s a massive match for both of us. I’m not in the China Open so the players behind me can still go past me again in the rankings. So I need to go deeper to give myself some breathing space.”
Selby said: “I didn’t play badly today. This is one of the waves you have to ride in your career. I have been so consistent over the last few years and inevitably at some point I would have a blip. It’s nothing that a few wins and some confidence won’t fix. The biggest thing for me is going out there and enjoying it, and I did today. In 2016 I went to the Crucible at the end of a bad season and ended up winning the world title.”
Williams booked his place in the quarter-finals with a 6-2 win over China’s Yan Bingtao. Williams, who has won two ranking titles this season, built a 4-1 lead with top breaks of 86 and 67, then won the sixth frame on the final pink after Yan had missed a difficult pot with the rest. Promising teenager Yan pulled one back before Williams sealed the match in frame eight with a run of 64.
Williams, who turns 43 tomorrow, said: “Neither of us played well today. I missed more balls in that match than I have all season. Ryan and I are two of the form players this season so it will be a good occasion.
“Last year I lost on my birthday, drove home and got a speeding ticket. So I’m glad to be here for another couple of days this time.”