Mark Selby has defeated a spirited Kyren Wilson 6-4 in a hard fought semi-final at the Bank of Beijing China Open.
It’s been another remarkable season for world number one Selby, who will appear in his fifth final of the season tomorrow, hunting a fourth title of the campaign.
Selby faces Mark Williams in the showpiece clash with a huge amount on the line for both players. The Jester from Leicester is defending the prize money he earned for winning this event in 2015, which will be removed from the rolling two-year ranking list after tomorrow. Meanwhile Williams knows that victory will see him snatch a seeded spot at the World Championship and avoid qualifying at Ponds Forge.
Wilson will head into his two weeks of preparation for the World Championship on a high, having claimed victories over last year’s Crucible runner-up Ding Junhui and the 2015 World Champion Stuart Bingham this week.
Both sessions of the match were played out in contrasting fashion. Before the interval, the game was dominated by high quality safety play. World Champion Selby got the better of the two and after the first few frames were traded, he crucially pinched the fourth frame on the pink to lead 3-1 at the halfway point.
When the players returned the tempo of the game upped significantly. Wilson propelled himself back into the match with breaks of 64 and a sublime 130 to restore parity at 3-3.
Not to be outdone, the World Champion responded with a contribution of 80 to regain the lead. Wilson continued to go for his shots and made a break of 68 as he once again levelled at 4-4.
From that point, the 10-time ranking winner showed his experience. Selby was never behind in the match and moved one from victory after edging the ninth frame. He then ruthlessly forced himself over the line with a run of 93 to wrap up the 6-4 win.
“After the interval Kyren played well, made some good breaks and that made me get focused and want to play well,” said Selby. “I’m looking forward to it tomorrow. I won this tournament two years ago and in a way I’m looking to defend it, as I didn’t play last year. Mark Williams is a great player and one of the legends of the game. It is going to be a tough match for me, but it is for him as well, he needs to win to get in the top 16.”
Wilson was making his first semi-final appearance since the Northern Ireland Open in November. His focus now turns to Sheffield.
Wilson said: “I just thought at 3-1 down I was going to go for it. I started having a go at a few long pots and they were going in. It was a really good game after the interval and I enjoyed it.
“The World Championship is the main event and it is only around the corner. I will look to take my form from this week to the Crucible.”