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Selby Books Semi-Final Spot

Mark Selby defeated Yan Bingtao 9-6 to reach the last four of the Coral Tour Championship in Milton Keynes.

World number seven Selby qualified as third seed for this elite event, having notched up titles this season at the English and Scottish Opens. That made the three-time World Champion the first ever player to win two Home Nations events in a single season.

Defeat for Yan, who was runner-up to Judd Trump at the Coral Players Championship, ends his hopes of winning the Coral Cup and scooping the £100,000 bonus which is awarded to the player who earns the most prize money over the series. Only front-runner Trump, Stephen Maguire and Shaun Murphy remain in the running.

This afternoon’s action saw Selby struggle in the early stages, trailing 3-1 after the first four frames. However, he improved after the mid-session to end level at 4-4.

Selby immediately established a cushion tonight, with breaks of 66 and 57 to move 6-4 ahead. Yan pulled one back, before a pivotal 12th frame. Selby was first in with a break of 64, but Yan rallied to force a re-spotted black. Leicester’s Selby eventually fluked the black to reach the mid-session 7-5 in front.

A superb century break of 105 helped Selby to the verge of victory when they returned. Yan kept himself in the contest to make it 8-6, but Selby won a 42-minute 15th frame to seal his 9-6 win. Next up, Selby faces either Shaun Murphy or Mark Allen for a place in the final.

“Overall, I’m happy with the way I played,” said 37-year-old Selby. “The first few frames were obviously quite ropey, but after that I felt I played alright considering we’ve not had that much match practice and aren’t that sharp.

“We are lucky that we have any snooker at all. I was looking at my calendar and thinking that we wouldn’t have any snooker until at least September. Barry and World Snooker Tour and even Matchroom for the Championship League, have done really well to get some events on.

“I’ve got two days off now, so I’ll get some practise in, watch a little bit of the game tomorrow and relax and look forward to Thursday.”