Selby maintains two-frame lead in tense semi-final contest

Mark Selby. Picture by Monique Limbos

Mark Selby. Picture by Monique Limbos

MARK Selby remained in pole position to reach the final of this year’s World Championship after he gained an overnight 9-7 lead against world number one Neil Robertson.

But Selby, bidding to win his first world title, will rue squandering a missed opportunity in the final frame of the afternoon session as a missed black off its spot denied him the chance to take a 10-6 lead.

Instead Robertson cleared with a vital break of 61 to go into Saturday morning’s third session just two frames behind and very much still in the contest.

Trailing 5-3 from Thursday night’s opening session Robertson made the perfect start to what proved a tense and tactical afternoon of snooker by winning the opening two frames of the session. A break of 46 saw him win frame nine before he made his 102nd century break of the season with an 113 to level at 5-5.

But Selby battled his way back to a two-frame lead after winning two rather scrappy frames to go into the mid-session interval 7-5 in front.

After the restart saw Robertson, chasing his second world title, reduced his deficit to 7-6 with a break of 72 but Selby moved three frames clear as he took the next two frames.

It looked for all money Selby would go four frames in front when he led 53-0 in the session’s final frame but after doing the hard work he missed a routine black off its spot allowing the Australian the chance to counter.

And counter-attack he did as a break of 61 saw him win what may prove to be a vital frame. With two sessions to go this semi-final stands beautifully poised.

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