Mark Selby edged out Jack Lisowski 5-4 in a thrilling encounter to book his place in the semi-finals of the Cazoo British Open in Cheltenham.
Victory sees four-time World Champion Selby move two wins away from a first ever British Open title. Selby is set for his 61st appearance in a ranking event semi-final, where he will face China’s Xiao Guodong.
The Leicester cueman has now won his last three meetings with Lisowski. That includes a clash at last season’s British Open, when he compiled a brilliant 147 break.
Another agonising loss for Lisowski means his quest for a maiden ranking event win continues. The 32-year-old has been runner-up on six occasions and has now lost six semi-finals.
It was home favourite Lisowski who took the opening two frames this afternoon, before a break of 98 saw Selby get his first frame on the board to make it 2-1. Lisowski had a great chance to take the fourth, but missed a regulation pink with the rest and Selby took the frame to ensure parity at the mid-session with the scores at 2-2.
When play resumed, Selby fired in a stunning contribution of 132 to move 3-2 ahead and gain the lead for the first time in the match. However, Lisowski levelled immediately with a break of 70.
A break of 95 saw Selby move one from victory and he had a chance to get over the line in the eighth. He missed a red with difficult bridging to a top corner and Lisowski pounced with 64 to force a decider. Both players had chances in the final frame before a stalemate resulted in a re-rack. Selby eventually made a decisive contribution of 65 to secure victory.
“He is a quality player and if he keeps playing how he has been then it is only a matter of time. He’s too good not to win a ranking event and when he does win one I think he will win a few. When I’m not in a tournament, I think he will go on and win a few. He’s a great lad and he is great for our game,” said 22-time ranking event winner.
“Everyone keeps reminding me that I’ve not won an ITV event yet. No pressure. I’m just taking one game at a time and not looking too far ahead. I’ve got Xiao tomorrow. It is going to be a tough match.”
Xiao earned his place in the semis with an impressive 5-3 win over Tom Ford, which included a tournament high break of 140. It will be his first appearance in a ranking event semi-final since the 2020 Gibraltar Open. The world number 37 has previously made the last four here in Cheltenham, at the 2019 World Grand Prix when he lost out against Ali Carter.