Mark Selby thrashed Xiao Guodong 6-0 to make the final of the Cazoo British Open in Cheltenham, where he will face off against Welshman Mark Williams.
Victory sees Selby through to the 34th ranking final of his career, where he will be gunning for a 23rd title. Selby and Williams have met in four previous finals and have won two each. Tomorrow’s clash will be contested over the best of 19 frames, with the winner picking up £100,000.
Selby has started the season strongly, having already made the semis of the European Masters. The four-time World Champion was runner up at the Crucible at the end of the last campaign, when he lost a classic final with Luca Brecel 18-15. He will be hoping to go one better tomorrow.
The result will feel sadly familiar to Xiao, who has already tasted a whitewash defeat in a Cheltenham semi-final. The Chinese cueman was beaten 6-0 by Ali Carter here in the last four of the 2019 World Grand Prix.
Selby took the first two frames this evening with breaks of 64 and 94. The third looked to be going the way of Xiao, but he crucially spurned a regulation yellow and allowed Selby to clear and move 3-0 ahead. He was soon four to the good after a break of 123 in the last frame before the interval. When play resumed Selby made light work of getting over the line and took the following two frames to complete the rout.
“I felt like I didn’t put a foot wrong from start to finish. Long game was good, safety was good and when I got in I was quite clinical. I’m over the moon with how I played,” said 40-year-old Selby.
“You can’t rattle him (Mark Williams). He’s so laid back. He doesn’t take things too seriously and is one of the all-time greats. You know that you are always going to be in a tough match whenever you play him. You have to be on top of your game to come through.
“It would be amazing to win. I’ve started off well this season. Even if I don’t win, although I’ll be disappointed, I’ll be happy with where my form is at. It would be nice to win the trophy tomorrow night and get the monkey off my back of everyone saying that I’ve not won an ITV event.”