MARK Selby held his nerve under severe pressure to reach his second World Championship final and in doing so broke Neil Robertson’s heart.
The Leicester man is one win away from becoming world snooker champion for the first time and will bid to land the sport’s biggest prize when he takes on five-times world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan over the next two days (Sunday and Monday).
Selby suffered heartache seven years ago when he lost 18-13 to John Higgins in his first world final but thanks to some incredible potting to clinch a tense 17-15 win over the Australian he now has a second bite of the cherry for ultimate glory.
In a dramatic match, one of the best of the tournament so far, both players produced high quality of play as they did everything they could to earn a place in the sport’s biggest event of the calendar.
It was more like a boxing match out there as the two kept exchanging blows before Selby landed the knock-out punch right at the end with a sublime break to clinch a huge win.
Tied at 12-12 going into the final session the match could not have been more beautifully poised as a cracking finish awaited the closely fought and enjoyable contest.
First blood fell to Robertson as a break of 74 after an impressive long red saw him go into the lead for just the second time of the match at 13-12.
But Selby’s impressive temperament really showed its worth in the next frame as a counter attacking break of 79 punished Robertson whose earlier break of 40 was brought to an end after he lost position. The next two frames were shared to leave the match on tender hooks at 14-14 with nothing in it between them.
The next frame after the mid-session interval saw Selby re-take the lead with a break of 77 after Robertson was unlucky to go in-off after potting the black. And a superb break of 54 helped put Selby on the verge of victory with a 16-14 lead.
But Robertson was by no means done with yet as a superb break of 108, his 103rd century of a truly magnificent campaign, kept his hopes alive.
However Selby managed to get over the winning line as a well compiled break of 74 ensured a ticket to the final. Next up the biggest test of them all in O’Sullivan.