Mark Selby ended the giant-killing run of Zhao Xintong to reach the final of the Evergrande China Championship with a 6-4 victory.
China’s 21-year-old Zhao had knocked out the likes of Mark Williams and Barry Hawkins to reach his first ranking semi final, and he looked in with a chance of continuing his run when he came from 4-1 down to 4-4 against Selby. But experience paid off for world number one Selby as he took the last two frames.
The Leicester cueman will face John Higgins in Sunday’s final, with the winner to earn £150,000. Selby is chasing his 15th career ranking title, and victory in the final would give him a fifth ranking crown in China within the past two years.
Tomorrow’s clash will be a repeat of the World Championship finals of 2007 (won by Higgins) and 2017 (won by Selby).
Breaks of 90 and 82 helped Selby build a 4-1 lead today. Zhao made a 110 in getting back to 4-4, but Selby crucially took a scrappy ninth frame then sealed victory in the next with a run of 63.
”I played well for most of the match, then I missed a red to a centre pocket at 4-1 and the match turned,” said Selby after reaching his 24th ranking final. “Zhao put me under pressure and played some good safety.
”John Higgins is a phenomenal player so it will be a very tough final. I will just enjoy it and try my hardest.”