Selby and Hawkins close in on semi-final spots

Mark Selby. Picture by Monique Limbos

Mark Selby. Picture by Monique Limbos

LAST year’s Crucible finalist Barry Hawkins and Mark Selby look set to reach the semi-finals of this year’s World Championship.

Hawkins, who lost to Ronnie O’Sullivan in last year’s final, and Selby, a finalist six years ago to John Higgins, left themselves in pole position in their quarter-finals ties gaining commanding leads.

Selby, bidding for his first world title, won eight of the nine frames this evening to take an overnight lead of 12-4 against Alan McManus. The Jester from Leicester just needs one more frame on Wednesday afternoon to reach the last four of snooker’s biggest competition,

Leading 4-3 from the morning session, Selby won the opening frame with a break of 86 after McManus was unlucky to get a kick while going for a red early in the frame.

There was more disappointment for the Scot in the next frame as a missed cut on the brown allowed Selby to clear to take a 6-3 lead. A break of 87 and edging another tight frame saw him race clear at 8-3 up at the mid-session interval.

McManus battled his way to a frame victory after the restart but that was as good as it got for him as Selby took the final four frames to storm clear at 12-4 up.

And Hawkins will just need two frames to ensure his second semi-final in successive years after he took an 11-5 overnight lead against Dominic Dale.

Leading 6-2 after the morning session, the world number four extended his lead by winning three of the first four frames of the evening session.

Dale then won a tight 13th frame by clearing from brown to black to make it 9-4, before Hawkins responded with a break of 88 to take a 10-4 lead.

The Welshman then made a break of 61 to narrow the deficit but Hawkins made an excellent 67 clearance to stretch his lead once more before the close of play.

Both matches finish on Wednesday afternoon (2.30pm start).


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