Mark Selby overcame a stubborn Stephen Maguire 3-2 before easing past Barry Hawkins 3-0 to claim the honours at Championship League Snooker as Group Five played out in the Ricoh Arena, Coventry.
World number one Selby had started out the group on Monday with just one win from his first four matches.
However, he recorded wins over Anthony McGill and Joe Perry to make it into the top four and the play-off stages on ‘frames won’. The Leicester man then edged past Maguire in a heavy scoring affair before beating Hawkins with telling breaks of 82, 59 and 97.
Selby said: “It was looking like I was going out the group. I won the last two to get into the semi-finals and that’s the beauty of this tournament.
“It’s great match practice playing the top players in the world so it’s a win-win for me. The winners’ group is going to be tough, the players who have won the groups so far are all top class players so I’m looking forward to it.”
Earlier, an in-form David Gilbert recorded the 147th maximum break in snooker history. He collected £500 for the group’s high break prize.
Selby will now join Stuart Bingham, Neil Robertson, Jack Lisowski, and Judd Trump in the Winners’ Group, which takes place at Barnsley Metrodome on March 13th and 14th. They will be joined by the winners of the next two groups.
Having finished fifth in the round robin group table, Ali Carter will return to compete in Group Six along with Hawkins, Maguire and Gilbert. They will be joined with Mark Davis, Xiao Guodong and Martin Gould.
Group Six commences at 11am on Wednesday.
Dave Gilbert 0 – 3 Barry Hawkins
33-90 (Hawkins 90), 0-81 (Hawkins 77), 53-62
Stephen Maguire 2 – 3 Mark Selby
124-13 (Maguire 124), 6-111 (Selby 98), 77-0 (Maguire 77), 39-68, 0-76 (Selby 50)
Barry Hawkins 0 – 3 Mark Selby
0-83 (Selby 82), 35-93 (Selby 59), 16-97 (Selby 97)