Selby Gets Off The Mark At BetVictor Northern Ireland Open

Selby To Face Hawkins In Beijing Final

Mark Selby beat Kyren Wilson 10-8 in an exciting match to reach the final of the Fuhua Group China Open, where he will face Barry Hawkins.

Defending champion Selby will battle Hawkins over 21 frames in Beijing on Sunday with the winner to bank £225,000, the biggest prize outside the World Championship.

Selby will be aiming for his second ranking title of the season having captured the International Championship in November. The 34-year-old from Leicester has won 13 of his previous 22 ranking finals.

World Champion Selby surged into a 5-1 lead today with top breaks of 96 and 78. Wilson battled back to just one frame behind at 6-5, compiling runs of 79 and 73.

Breaks of 71 and 72 from Selby put him 8-5 up, then Wilson hit back again with 82, 60 and 51 to level at 8-8. But it was world number one Selby who finished stronger as runs of 66 and 58 helped him win the last two frames.

“Kyren just wouldn’t lie down, even when I went 8-5 up,” said Selby, who beat Mark Williams in the final of this event last year. “He potted some great long balls and really put me under it. I was really happy with the way I won the last two frames. I was still confident at 8-8 because it wasn’t as if I had missed many chances.

“Tomorrow is going to be a long day and another tough game against Barry. I’ll go out there and try my best and see if that’s good enough.”

World number eight Hawkins reached the final with a 10-6 victory over Neil Robertson and is aiming for the fourth ranking title of his career.

Londoner Hawkins led 5-4 after the first session, making breaks of 73, 86 and 124, while Robertson compiled runs of 67, 79, 76 and 62.

Australia’s Robertson took the first frame of the evening session then Hawkins won three in a row with a top run of 73. Robertson’s break of 110 made it 8-6 but Hawkins took the next with a 101 then clinched victory in frame 16.

Hawkins, runner-up at the Welsh Open last month, is into his seventh career ranking final and first in China.

“The match was a high standard throughout, neither of us missed many balls,” said 38-year-old Hawkins. “I’m delighted to beat Neil because he is a top class player and he was playing well.

“After a poor start to the season, to have two finals in the last two big tournaments I have played is unbelievable. It has turned my season around and given me a lift going into the World Championship.

“It’s great to have this run in such a huge event. If I win the tournament it will be my biggest ever pay day and that’s a massive incentive.”