Snooker: Selby survives Lee's fightback to reach last eight at Masters

January 19, 2012 11:57 am 

LONDON, Jan. 19 — The World No. 1 Mark Selby kept focus to resist a mid-match counterattack from Stephen Lee and reached the quarter-finals with a breathtaking 6-4 victory at the Masters on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old Selby, having won snooker's most prestigious invitation event in 2008 and 2010, seemed too strong for his English counterpart after dominating the early stages with a 4-0 lead, compiling breaks of 66, 57 and 110.

The 15th-seeded Lee refused to give up in the best of 11 frames and saved himself with a break of 100 in the fifth to make it 1-4.

Boosted by a run of 73, Selby gained the match point in 5-1 and appeared to be easing to a 6-1 victory in a repeat of the 2008 final.

However, the 37-year-old veteran didn't want to review the bitter memory and struggled his way back in an unlikely way after winning three frames in a run to narrow the gap to 4-5, seemingly dragging the two Englishmen to a seesaw battle.

But Selby rejected the dramatic turnover to happen on himself and regained the momentum immediately with a break of 71 to seal the thrilling 6-4 victory.

"I settled quite well and played well to go 4-0 in front," said Selby.

"Then I just seemed to lose a bit of focus, maybe because I had quite a big lead. I probably should have won 6-1, but full credit to Stephen, he started playing well and got more and more confidence," added the winner, who will face his close friend Shaun Murphy on Friday.

"I'm looking forward to playing Shaun Murphy now. I've known him since I was 14 or 15 and we always say it would be nice to play each other in a big final one day. It will be a good game and I need to play a lot better."

In the other last-16 knockout battle of the day, Graeme Dott saw off Ali Carter 6-3 to book the last advancing ticket.

After that, all the quarter-final lineups are produced. They are: Ronnie O'Sullivan v Judd Trump, Graeme Dott v John Higgins,

Neil Robertson v Mark Williams, Mark Selby v Shaun Murphy. The four matches will be staged on Thursday and Friday.

Defending champion Ding Junhui, the only Chinese player in this eight-day tournament, failed to repeat his glory after defeat to O'Sullivan in the opening game on Jan 15.

The Masters is one of the "big three" snooker events following World Championship and UK Championship, featuring an elite field of the world's top 16 players. (PNA/Xinhua) DCT/LOR/jnc


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