Mark Selby won a thrilling encounter with Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-4 to reach the semi-finals of the 19.com Scottish Open in Glasgow.
Selby is aiming to become the first player to win more than one Home Nations event in a single season. The three-time World Champion produced a sublime display to crush David Gilbert 9-1 and win the English Open title back in October.
Selby and O’Sullivan have been facing each other on the World Snooker Tour since they first met at the 2002 China Open. Selby won on that occasion and their subsequent battles have seen the fixture become one of snooker’s greatest rivalries.
Despite today’s victory for the Jester from Leicester, it’s the Rocket who holds a 14-10 lead in their head-to-head record.
This afternoon’s match saw both players fire from the start. Selby got off the mark in the opening frame with a sublime break of 120 to move 1-0 up. O’Sullivan hit back immediately with an equally impressive break of 123 to restore parity.
Selby took a scrappy third, before O’Sullivan fired in a century run of 113 to make it 2-2 at the mid-session.
When they returned O’Sullivan composed his third century of the tie with a break of 111 to take the lead for the first time at 3-2. They traded frames, until Selby forced a decider with a run of 56. He then composed a break of 63 to secure victory. Next up he faces a repeat of his English Open final with Gilbert.
“I’m over the moon. To play Ronnie in any tournament is a great feeling and to come out with a win is even better,” said Selby. “At one stage there were four centuries in five frames, which was incredible. After that I didn’t really score as well, but I didn’t miss too many easy pots. I thought my safety was quite good.”
Gilbert And Lisowski Power Through
David Gilbert and Jack Lisowski secured quickfire victories in a stunning evening session.
Gilbert defeated Judd Trump 5-2, with Lisowski beating Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 5-3. Both matches were played simultaneously and completed within an hour and a half, producing a pulsating spectacle at the Emirates Arena.
Lisowski composed the highest break of the event so far, a run of 143, on his way to victory and will now face defending champion Mark Allen for a place in the final.
Tamworth cueman Gilbert is seeking his maiden ranking title, having already appeared in four ranking finals. Despite expressing his desire to get over the line in a ranking event, he was keen not to get too far ahead of himself.
Gilbert said: “It would be the best Christmas present I have ever had if I could finally pull it off. The obsession of doing that isn’t in my head at the moment though. I am just enjoying playing and I haven’t been able to do that in the past couple of months. It is just one game at a time.”
Pistol Still Firing
Mark Allen kept the defence of his title going with a 5-1 defeat of the last remaining Scottish player in the tournament Scott Donaldson.
With the scores locked at 1-1, Allen reeled off four successive frames with breaks of 62, 81, 102 and 78 to emerge with victory.