Mark Selby put on a sensational display to complete a 13-3 win over Marco Fu with a session to spare at the Betfred World Championship.
The world number one was utterly dominant in reaching his fourth World Championship semi-final. The win means he has now accumulated over £600,000 in prize money for the season and he is on course to break Stephen Hendry’s record of £740,000 in a single campaign.
Fu will look back on his season as one of his best on the World Snooker Tour. He picked up a terrific victory at the Scottish Open, fighting back from 4-1 down to defeat John Higgins 9-4 in the final. The Hong Kong potter has also made a habit of comebacks this year in Sheffield, he came from 7-1 behind against Luca Brecel in the first round and 4-1 against Neil Robertson in the last 16. However, there was to be no turnaround this morning.
Selby put on a solid session of matchplay snooker to establish a 6-2 advantage yesterday evening. He turned to his considerable break building power this morning to finish off the job.
The 33-year-old won the opening three frames of the morning with relative ease before sparking into life. He made back to back century runs of 132 and 139, the latter being the highest break of the event so far – for the time being.
Three-time ranking winner Fu then showed a flash of his best form by winning his solitary frame of the morning thanks to a well composed break of 56. However, Selby then beat his own high break with a run of 143, before winning the sixteenth frame to wrap up the tie. He now faces a huge semi-final clash with either Ding Junhui or Ronnie O’Sullivan.
“From start to finish there were only one or two balls missed which I should have got. Other than that I think it was more or less a faultless game,” said the 11 time ranking winner. “If I carry on playing like that I know I’ll have a chance in the tournament. But at the same time to carry on playing like that for the next four sessions or possibly even more is going to be quite difficult, but I know it is there so mentally that is good.
“I was trying extra hard because in this tournament it is a long tournament, so if you do finish with a session to spare it is great to have that little bit of extra rest.
“I think the 143 was a good break because I was never in position, I just kept potting silly balls from nowhere. I got to 80-odd and I thought it was end of break, then I potted a black and a red down the rail. When I got down to the black I was more nervous than any other part of the match because if I miss it 136 isn’t going to stand as highest break, but 143 has a chance.
“Ding seems to be playing well again, Ronnie is always dangerous no matter what frame of mind he is in. He is capable of coming through the game tonight, he could easily go on a run and not miss a ball for four frames.”
Following the defeat Marco Fu claimed that Selby was now the man to beat and backed him to pick up a third world title.
Fu admitted: “It was very tough, Mark was at his best and it’s very hard to play against, unplayable at times. Safety, long potting, break building, everything is top class, you’ve got to make him favourite it now after that performance.
“A lot of players, like myself, sit in the chair looking at the other player knocking in break after break. I’ve played against, Ronnie, John Higgins, Stephen Hendry so it’s not something new to me. You can’t really do anything but admire, he’s very good, the ability he produced, the standard he produced was amazing at times. Sometimes you just need to say well done and all the best.”