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Mark Selby sets up Mark Williams showdown in British Open final

Jonathan Davies in British Open

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Mark Selby v Xiao Guodong live stream | British Open 2023 Semi-Final preview

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Mark Selby v Mark Williams live stream | British Open 2023 final preview

Selby whitewashed Xiao in Cheltenham on Saturday (PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

Mark Selby will play Mark Williams in the 2023 British Open final after a commanding 6-0 whitewash of Xiao Guodong on Saturday.

It will be a battle of the Marks for the trophy at The Centaur in Cheltenham this weekend, as well as the top prize of £100,000.

Selby is still seeking his first silverware in an ITV-televised tournament, but took a giant stride towards ending that wait with a dominant display against Xiao.

The four-time World champion had come through deciding-frame finishes against David Gilbert and Jack Lisowski, but quickly established control in the last four with runs of 64 and 94 on the way to a 3-0 lead.

A sublime 123 clearance then put Selby 4-0 to the good at the interval, while a further contribution of 61 moved him within a frame of glory.

Xiao was appearing in his sixth ranking event semi-final – and first since the 2020 Gibraltar Open.

However, he had no answer for Selby, who wasted no time in setting up what will be his fifth meeting with Williams in a ranking final.

The Welshman is through to his 40th ranking final and now one victory away from completing a hat-trick of British Open titles, after defeating Hossein Vafaei 6-3 earlier in the day.

Williams, who also lifted the trophy in 1997 and 2021, controlled the early stages with a top run of 66 on the way to a 2-0 lead.

Vafaei had struggled to settle early on, but did so with contributions of 66 and 57 helping him level at 2-2 at the interval.

Williams edged his nose back in front before snatching frame six on the black, though the Iranian halved the deficit to 4-3 with a sublime 135 clearance.

But the three-time World champion was not to be denied as breaks of 62 and 71 saw him over the line and into his first ranking final since losing to Vafaei in last year’s Shoot Out showpiece.

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