World Championship

Battling Selby digs deep to earn final frame win

Mark Selby. Picture by Monique Limbos

Mark Selby. Picture by Monique Limbos

MARK Selby scraped his way to the second round of the World Championship after being taken all the way against a battling display from Michael White.

The world number three, bidding for his first world title, was pushed to the limit by the talented Welshman but a brilliant break of 57 in the final frame decider helped the Leicester star secure his place in the last 16.

In a scrappy encounter, Selby saw leads of 5-1 and 8-4 significantly closed by White who despite not playing at his fluent best showed a true battling side to his game as he looked to knock out one of the tournament favourites.

Selby regained the lead at 9-8 despite a bizarre situation which saw him foul on the pink when he assumed wrongly referee Leo Scullion had called a free ball.

But, like previously, White battled back to force a decider. But Selby kept his title hopes alive with a determined break of 57 in the final frame.

Selby, who meets Ali Carter in the next round, said: “It was a strange game because I thought I played really well. If you look at the breaks, I scored six or seven one-visits out of the ten frames I’ve won.

“All you can ask for in a deciding frame is to have a chance. If you have that chance and you take it then great, but if not then you can’t complain.

“Michael played fantastic from 8-4, his back was against the wall and he went out all guns blazing. Apart from a few balls here and there, I don’t think I did much wrong.

“Carter is a great player; he has been to the final here twice before, so obviously he knows what it takes to get to the final. It’s going to be a tough game.”

Elsewhere, John Higgins will have to battle back from behind against Alan McManus tomorrow if he is to reach the next round. The four-times world champion struggled throughout and trailed 6-1 to the fellow Scot before winning the final two frames of the session to close the gap to 6-3.

Crucible new boy Kyren Wilson will have to do the same as he trailed 6-3 in his first session against Ricky Walden.

Playing at the Crucible for the first time, Wilson appeared to take it like a duck to water after winning three of the first four frames.

But Walden, who made the semi-finals of this event last year, battled back strongly taking the next five frames, including stealing one frame from Wilson who missed the final black off its spot, putting him in the ascendancy.

The morning session saw Joe Perry book a second round clash against Ronnie O’Sullivan after he turned around a 6-3 deficit to beat Jamie Burnett 10-7.

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