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Narrow Advantage For Selby

Mark Selby leads Mark Allen 11-10 ahead of what seems sure to be an almighty battle in the fourth and last session of their Cazoo World Championship semi-final on Saturday night.

The eight frames of the third session were shared, leaving Selby just one ahead overall. They resume at 7pm with first to 17 frames going through to the final to meet Luca Brecel or Si Jiahui on Sunday and Monday. Four-time Crucible king Selby looked to be pulling away when he led 10-7, but missed chances in the next two frames and Allen rallied to leave the contest perfectly poised.

Leicester’s Selby is playing in his eighth Sheffield semi-final, and of the previous seven he has converted five into finals and four into titles. Allen is appearing at this stage of the tournament for only the second time and first since 2009 when he lost to John Higgins. If he wins the match tonight, the Northern Irishman will become world number one for the first time in his career, over-taking Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Today’s opening frame came down to the last red, and a safety error from Allen handed Selby the chance to pot the red and add the points he needed to go 8-6 ahead. The Englishman then extended his lead with a break of 112, his eighth century of the tournament.

In frame 16, Selby trailed 52-30 when he attempted a difficult plant on a red to a top corner, but missed his target and Allen capitalised to close the gap to 9-7. Selby took the next with a run of 53 and he had a golden opportunity to snatch frame 18 from 42-0 behind, but failed to pot the final green on 57, and Allen cleared to close to 10-8.

An exciting conclusion to the 19th frame saw Allen go in-off when attempting safety on the yellow, leaving Selby 27 points behind with a chance to force a respotted black. But he over-cut a tricky blue to a top corner, leaving Allen to halve the gap.  Back came Selby with a run of 65 to lead 11-9, but Allen finished the session with a 92, his highest break of the match so far.