Selby One Win Away From Top Ranking
Mark Selby fended off a Ryan Day fight-back to win 10-7 at the Duelbits Tour Championship and move within one result of regaining the world number one ranking from Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Selby looked set for an early night when he led 8-2, but was pushed hard as Day took five of the next six frames to close to 9-7. Eventually, Leicester’s Selby got over the line to set up an intriguing semi-final with Shaun Murphy in Hull on Saturday. Victory in that match would send Selby to the top of the world rankings for the first time in a year.
Today’s result also ends Day’s hopes of being among the top 16 seeds at the Cazoo World Championship, instead he’ll be heading for the qualifying rounds. For the full list of Crucible seeds click here.
Four-time World Champion Selby looked close to his best in winning last week’s WST Classic, and he stays on course for back-to-back ranking titles. He is into his 58th ranking semi-final and is targeting a 33rd final. The 39-year-old reached the last four of this event in 2020 and 2021 but is yet to appear in the final.
Welshman Day enjoyed a magical moment in the opening session with a 147, but otherwise Selby dominated and went 6-2 ahead. Breaks of 131 and 67 to start the evening session saw Selby extend that lead to 8-2. Day pulled one back, then in frame 12 he got the better of a safety battle on the yellow before making an excellent clearance to close to 8-4.
After the interval, Day clawed another back with a run of 75, and he had first chance in frame 14, but screwed the cue ball in-off after potting the pink on 37. Selby later got the better of a safety exchange on the penultimate red and cleared for 9-5.
A rare 16-red clearance from Day, totalling 139, regained his momentum and he dominated the 16th for 9-7. But Selby clinched victory in the next with a run of 77.
“It got a bit edgy towards the end,” Selby admitted. “I was pleased by the way I closed it out in the end because Ryan was looking strong. I’m happy with how I played overall.
“Early in the match Ryan made the 147 which was a fantastic break, then he had a chance to go 2-2 but he didn’t take it and I went 3-1, that was an important moment early on. After that I controlled the match up until 8-2.
“Getting back to world number one and trying to win more tournaments – those are my goals and that’s what I keep playing for. I’ll be trying as hard as I can on Saturday and if I get back to the top of the rankings that would be amazing.”
Day said: “I needed to get off to a fast start tonight but Mark went 8-2 ahead. I dug in and found a bit of concentration and it could have been different in the end. At 8-5 I potted the pink but hit it too well and went in-off, that was a disaster as I had the momentum. I have to get my head around going to the world qualifiers now. We all want to finish at the Crucible.”