Selby And Hawkins Into Semis
Mark Selby reached his third ranking event semi-final of the season by beating Mark Williams 6-2 at the Fuhua Group China Open in Beijing.
Selby has had a patchy season by his high standards; his only title coming at the International Championship in November and his only other ranking semi-final coming at February’s World Grand Prix. But the world number one looks to be returning to form this week and played some superb snooker to beat Williams in a repeat of last year’s final.
After sharing the first two frames, Selby went 4-1 up with a top break of 136. Williams pulled one back but Selby won frame seven with a run of 60 then finished the match in style with a 143 total clearance. The Leicester cueman, who beat Williams 10-8 in the final last year, now faces Kyren Wilson or Jack Lisowski on Saturday.
“I have got better as the tournament has gone on and I’m really happy with the way I played today,” said Selby, who will be aiming to win his fourth World Championship title at the Crucible in the coming weeks. “Coming here I wasn’t too confident and didn’t know what to expect because my season has been quite poor. I have scored well and gained more confidence now.
“I came here just trying to find some form but obviously now I want to go on and win it. But whoever I play in the semis tomorrow it will be tough.”
Barry Hawkins came through a hard fought battle against Tom Ford by a 6-5 scoreline, after Ford suffered a slice of misfortune when he had a chance for victory.
World number eight Hawkins built a 4-1 lead with top breaks of 59, 132 and 71, then Ford reeled off four frames in a row with top runs of 84, 103 and 68 to go 5-4 ahead.
In frame ten, Ford had first chance and was on 21 when he potted the pink only to knock a red into a centre pocket. That proved the turning point as Hawkins cleared with 65 then won the decider with an excellent break of 96. He now meets Neil Robertson or Stuart Bingham.
Defeat for Ford means that Jack Lisowski is now the only player who can jump into the top 16 by winning the £225,000 top prize, which would knock Mark Allen out of the elite and leave him facing the qualifying rounds of the World Championship. For the latest on that race and to see how the Crucible draw could be shaping up, click here