Selby and Robertson to contest China Open final

Neil Robertson is through to the China Open final.

Neil Robertson is through to the China Open final.

NEIL Robertson booked his place in the China Open final after coming back from behind on three occasions to beat Stephen Maguire in a thrilling semi-final.

The Australian, who fought back to win after being 4-2 and 5-4 down, will play Mark Selby in Sunday’s final in Beijing who secured a comfortable 6-2 victory over fellow Englishman Shaun Murphy earlier in the day.

The final will be a repeat of this year’s Betfair Masters finale which Selby won 10-6 in January.

Robertson will be seeking his first major ranking title of the season and will hope to bury the disappointment  of losing in the finals of the International Championship, Masters and PTC Grand Finals during the season.

But both semi-finals were completely different as Robertson was forced to do it the hard way against a gritty Stephen Maguire who was eager to reach the final again after being runner-up of the event last season.

A 52 break from Maguire gave him the opening but Robertson responded with breaks of 78  and 80 to go ahead at 2-1.

The world number three then looked well set to take the fourth frame but a missed pink proved costly as Maguire cleared up to level the match 2-2 at the interval.

The events of the previous frame looked like it would prove to be a key point as Maguire won the first frame after the restart to return ahead at 3-2. This season’s Welsh Open winner then moved to a two frame lead after a brilliantly composed break of 67.

In a vital seventh frame, Robertson managed to win to reduce his deficit to one before he came back right into the match with a classy clearance of 87 to level the scores at 4-4.

But the Glaswegian showed great courage in winning the next frame with a break of 82 to go within a single frame from victory but Robertson once again pegged the Scot back with a sublime century break of 110 to force the match into a decider.

And a tremendous long pink from the Australian set him on his way to the final as he compiled a break of 81 to clinch a thrilling 6-5 win.

The morning session saw Selby cruise into Sunday’s final as he proved far too good for Murphy who once again fell to a major ranking semi-final defeat.

The Jester from Leicester stormed into a 3-0 lead with a top break of 68 before Murphy kept his slight hopes alive winning a close fourth frame.

But there was no stopping the UK and Masters champion who won three of three of the next four frames to reach his ninth career ranking final.

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