Mark Selby hammers Mark Williams to move into World Snooker Championship semis

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Phil Casey, PA
·5-min read
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Mark Selby cruised into the semi-finals of the Betfred World Snooker Championship after thrashing fellow three-time champion Mark Williams with a session to spare.

Resuming their eagerly-anticipated quarter-final with a 6-2 lead, Selby reeled off four frames in a row with the aid of breaks of 96, 58 and 66 before Williams stopped the rot with a run of 79.

However, the Welshman was already resigned to his fate and, despite successfully producing a bizarre four-cushion break-off shot, two more half-centuries saw Selby claim the three frames he needed to complete a 13-3 victory.

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The last quarter-final to end with a session to spare was Selby’s 13-3 win over Marco Fu in 2017 on his way to the title and the 37-year-old told the PA news agency: “We’ll find out if that’s a good omen over the next few days.

“But I feel as though I’m playing as good as back then, if not better at the moment. So all I can keep do is keep working hard, get as much rest as possible and stay focused.

“Really happy with the way I played from start to finish. I’ve not eased off at any stage since the start of the tournament which is nice, because you know you’re going to play some bad sessions.

“I’m just trying to go back to basics really, making sure I give every shot 100 per cent and it seems to be working at the moment. I don’t seem to be missing anything silly and not really giving my opponents many easy chances.”

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Williams felt he was unfortunate not to get out of the first session just 5-3 behind, but admitted: “I just got outplayed and he totally deserved it.

“Forget about (Judd) Trump and (Neil) Robertson and (Kyren) Wilson and all these – if they’re all playing well Selby’s different class to the lot of them.

“He played outstanding stuff and I’m a man to put my hands up and say I can’t compete with that – not many people can. When it went 10-2 the match is dead. I tried, but the last thing I wanted to do tonight was come back at 12-4 knowing you can’t win.”

Kyren Wilson
Kyren Wilson, right, was a 13-8 winner (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Wilson had earlier booked his place in the semi-finals with a 13-8 victory over former champion Robertson.

The pair’s quarter-final was finely poised at 8-8 overnight, but Wilson won five straight frames at the start of their final session to set up a last-four clash with either world number one Trump or Shaun Murphy.

A total clearance of 133 gave Wilson the opening frame after Robertson attempted the break-off shot made popular by Williams, only to hit the pack too hard from the bottom cushion and leave a red to the middle.

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Robertson was then unfortunate to inadvertently knock a red into the corner pocket when splitting the pack from the blue and a break of 59 allowed Wilson to extend his lead.

Wilson missed a black off the spot on a break of 62 in the next frame but Robertson surprisingly spurned two easy chances to pot a red and Wilson took advantage to lead 11-8.

Last year’s beaten finalist also won a scrappy 20th frame to leave Robertson needing to win all five remaining frames, but Wilson calmly made a break of 84 after the mid-session interval to seal a comprehensive win.

“I still don’t think I’ve hit my peak, I’m just gritty,” Wilson told the BBC. “I’m trying my heart out in every session, if it’s not quote going for me I won’t give in, I’ll keep fighting and try and get the best result I can.

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“The longer format suits me, sometimes I can dip in and out of concentration but because I’m so strong mentally I can overcome that and allow myself to grow into the matches. I love playing at The Crucible.”

Stuart Bingham edged a final frame decider over Anthony McGill to book his place back in the semi-finals for the first time since he won the tournament in 2015.

Bingham described his 125 clearance as “definitely the best of my career” after converting a 10-7 deficit into a 12-10 lead – then withstanding a gritty fightback from McGill.

Bingham told the PA news agency: “It feels just as emotional to get back to the one-table set-up as it did for the first time in 2015.

“It’s just the Holy Grail of the sport and I’m proud of the way I held it together because it’s not easy playing under that kind of pressure.”