Saturday, 8 December 2012

Selby sails on

Mark Selby enjoyed a night to remember at the Barbican reaching his first UK Championship final and recapturing his place as world number one.

The Jester has put his fans through the ringer in York this week but there was a welcomed sense of comfort about his 9-4 victory against Mark Davis, even if he still didn't play to his best.

Picture by  Monique Limbos
He plays Shaun Murphy next in the prestigious UK final and is back on top of the world after losing his position to Judd Trump for the past five weeks.

These are achievements well worth celebrating but Selby will not choose to dwell on them. Instead, he is focused on the silverware on offer.

It's been an odd tournament so far for Selby. His path through to the final has been treacherous to put it lightly.

He's known as the master of brinkmanship and has pushed those credentials to the limit. He found himself 3-0 down to Ryan Day in round two and also trailed Neil Robertson 4-0 in the quarter-finals.

Selby has been asked plenty of questions this week but has managed to come up with the answers responding with some excellent spells of hard match snooker that look to be providing a gradual remedy to his confidence issues.

As much as people have bemoaned his inability to start matches quickly, these kinds of tests have a habit of helping a player build the steel required for an assault on the title. Getting to the final in the manner he has will make him feel bulletproof.

Today, Selby will be pleased to have done it the easy way with his next opponent, Murphy, enjoying the luxury of an extra of day of rest and being able to watch the action from the comfort of his own home.

Selby dominated the contest. Davis was playing in the biggest match of 21-year career and looked overawed by the occasion at times. He made mistakes at crucial moments and Selby picked him off.

He has greater experience of playing on the big stage and put it to good use. Davis was bound to be nervous so he put him under pressure from the start which helped him build an early advantage he never lost.

Davis has had another good week but knows he is better than this display. He didn't do his game justice. But Selby marches on and has the chance to claim one of the sport's biggest prizes....

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