Mark Selby and Judd Trump secured quarter-final wins at the International Championship in Daqing to book a mouth watering last four meeting against each other.
World Champion Trump earned a return to the world number one spot yesterday after his last 16 win over Joe Perry. World number six Selby was deposed at the top of the world rankings back in March, having held the position for four years.
Leicester’s Selby overcame Gary Wilson 6-5 in a pulsating quarter-final clash to seal his progression and remain in the hunt for the £175,000 top prize. The match was a repeat of their recent last 16 match at the World Championship, where Wilson came out on top with a 13-10 win. Selby exacted his revenge today.
Defeat for Wilson ends his hopes of qualifying for the upcoming Shanghai Masters. The top 16 in the world rankings will secure a place in Shanghai, with the cut off at the end of this week’s event.
Three-time World Champion Selby had opened 3-0 and 5-2 advantages, before Wilson clawed his way back into the match.
Breaks of 79, 49 and 126 helped world number 20 Wilson to force a deciding frame at 5-5. Wilson was first in with a chance to win, but missed a red to the top right corner. Selby stepped in to produce a typically steely run of 83 to seal victory and set up a best of 17 frame semi-final meeting with Trump tomorrow.
Selby said: “Judd is the best player in the world at the moment, hence why he is world number one and World Champion. His confidence will be as high as it is ever going to be, but I’ll be looking forward to it and try my best.
“It was one of my goals as a professional to try and get to number one in the world and that is something I managed to do. To stay there as long as I did was more than I expected, especially with how high the standard is. Hopefully Judd has only got it for a little while and I can get it back. I’ve just let him borrow it for a little while!”
Trump sealed his semi-final place with a 6-3 win over Tom Ford, who has now also had his hopes of Shanghai Masters qualification ended.
The Ace in the Pack’s ascension to world number one has seen him top the rankings for a third time in his career. The most recent run ended in March 2013.
Bristol’s Trump closed out his victory with a top break of 94 in the final frame and afterwards admitted that he wasn’t going to settle with his world number one status.
“It is always good to be world number one. There is no difference though. Today I just wanted to win again. It is nice to be number one, but the main thing is you really want to win tournaments,” said 29-year-old Trump. “It is exciting to be back in the semi-final. It is a tournament that I really want to win and a good event. It will be a tough match. I think Mark lost his confidence a bit, so he will really want to win this one.”
Close friends Shaun Murphy and Mark Allen will contest the other semi-final after the pair secured victories in the evening session. The showdown will be a repeat of last season’s Scottish Open final, where Allen came through a 9-7 winner in Glasgow.
2005 World Champion Murphy earned his place in the last four with a 6-4 defeat of 2006 Crucible king Graeme Dott. The first eight frames were tightly contested and there was never more than one between the pair, as they emerged level at 4-4. Murphy moved one away from victory at 5-4. He then stormed over the line with a sublime run of 106 to secure victory.
The result means that Dott’s hopes of qualifying for the Shanghai Masters are ended and Murphy’s position is assured.
Defending champion Allen booked his place in the semis with a 6-3 defeat of China’s top star Ding Junhui.
The Pistol has been in superb form this week, having won 30 of the 38 frames he has contested. After eventually taking an epic re-spotted black in today’s opener, Allen took control of proceedings by winning the following two frames to move 3-0 up.
Ding hit back and after getting on the scoreboard he then stole the fifth frame on the final black to move within one at 3-2. However, from there Allen secured three of the following four frames to come through a 6-3 victor.