Selby Ends Wilson Run To Reach Semis
Mark Selby reached the semi-finals of the Betfred World Championship for the fourth time with a 13-8 victory over Kyren Wilson.
Wilson, 24, has come of age this season by winning the Shanghai Masters and reaching the quarter-finals at the Crucible for the first time. He wasn’t quite up to the challenge presented by the world number one, essentially losing the match in the early stages when Selby went 6-0 up. Talented Wilson will surely be a contender at Sheffield for many years to come and said after the match he had no doubt he would return to win the title.
Selby, meanwhile, was delighted to progress to the last four and move within two wins of repeating his 2014 triumph. The Leicester cueman did not compete in the previous two ranking events, pulling out for personal reasons, but has now shaken off any rustiness and looks to be building form as the tournament progresses. He will face Marco Fu or Barry Hawkins over 33 frames on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Selby led 10-6 overnight and rattled through the first two frames today with breaks of 92 and 78. Wilson pulled one back then showed his quality with a superb 143 total clearance, the new front runner for the £10,000 high break prize. But Selby won the first frame after the interval with a run of 64 to seal the result.
“There’s still a long way to go, we’re only half-way through the tournament and the matches get longer,” said Selby, who beat Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final two years ago.
“It’s going to be tough, but I’ve just got to try and stay fresh and keep playing like I can. If I go out there and I’m switched on, I don’t really mind who I play.
“The turning point in this match was the second session, when it went from 6-2 to 10-6. I’m not sure how I came out of that 4-4 because Kyren was by far the better player, it was a miracle really. If he’d won that session 7-1 it wouldn’t have been a surprise, so to battle the way I did probably won me the match.
“He’s a very attacking player and he was always going to let his arm go this morning with nothing to lose, and at 12-6 you could tell he was going to go for everything. He’s a dangerous opponent and when it’s like that he becomes even more dangerous.
“He’s only 24, he’s got a great game, he’s had a great season and I have no doubt he will be a future world champion.”
Wilson said: “Going 6-0 down sort of finished me off. I let Mark get away early and I didn’t put him under pressure. He’s too good a player to let him get on top of you.
“I went straight into the quarter-final the day after my second round match, while Mark had a few days off, that’s why I got off to a slow start. I always knew that the quarter-final could be the stumbling block, with the qualifying matches and two matches here. I felt if I had got to the semis I would have had a chance, but unfortunately I couldn’t get my game together soon enough.
“I will win this event in the future without a doubt. I completely believe in myself and it hasn’t dampened my confidence. I will go away from here and have a bit of a rest with my family and friends, I’m getting married this summer so that’s something to look forward to.
“Then I’ll be back working very hard to make next season even better than this one.”
Meanwhile, John Higgins leads Alan McManus 9-7 going into the concluding session of their quarter-final.
McManus trailed 5-3 overnight then won the first frame today with a break of 68. He made a 38 clearance to steal then second then a run of 66 put him 6-5 ahead. Four-time champion Higgins hit back with a run of 80 to level the score then regained the lead at 7-6. He led 40-0 in the next but McManus recovered to win it with a run of 70. Higgins got the better of frame 15 with a top run of 48.
In the last of the session, McManus led 25-0 but missed a tricky black and Higgins capitalised with a break of 101 to ensure he needs just four more frames when they resume at 7pm to reach his eighth Crucible semi-final.