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Selby denies Day to reach Tour Championship semi-finals

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Ryan Day delivers wonderful 147 break at the Tour Championship

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Selby looks on (PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo)

Mark Selby held off maximum man Ryan Day to advance to the Tour Championship semi-finals with a 10-7 victory in Hull on Thursday.

The Jester withstood a spirited fightback by his opponent, who produced a 147 and 16-red clearance as he recovered from 8-2 down to only trail 9-7.

Hitting two centuries and a further five breaks over 50, Selby advanced to the last four of the elite event for the third time in four appearances, where he will play Shaun Murphy on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Day’s defeat saw him miss the opportunity to secure his place at the Crucible as a seeded player. The Welshman is subsequently condemned to two qualifying rounds, with Gary Wilson and Ding Junhui taking the last remaining spots.

“I felt good out there. Every time I got a chance, I felt like I was going to score,” Selby told ITV.

“I basically played one bad shot from 9-5, and it’s 9-7. But I was confident in my chair thinking if I get a chance, I’m going to take it. Thankfully for me, I did.

“Confidence is the here, the now, the present. If you’re not winning, it doesn’t matter what you’ve won in the past – it’s all about the present.

“Coming here, I was confident knowing that my game’s in good shape and I’m playing OK. It’s a nice place to be.

“It’s a tough game. When you’re playing well, everything seems to fall on your lap and it seems to be easy.”

Selby established early control with successive 77 clearances in the opening two frames, during which Day potted just two balls.

But the Welshman responded in emphatic fashion with a magical maximum break – the first compiled at the Tour Championship, and 11th of the season.

Nevertheless, Selby won four of the next five frames – hitting breaks of 75 and 132 on the way to opening a commanding 6-2 lead.

The four-time World champion extended his advantage with brilliant clearances of 131 and 67 (from 46-16 down in frame 10) putting him 8-2 to the good.

Desperate to keep his hopes of achieving automatic Crucible qualification alive, Day dug in with runs of 67 and 75 sandwiching him taking frame 12 on the black to cut the deficit to 8-5.

The British Open champion looked on course to make it 8-6, but was unfortunate to go in-off when screwing back from the pink on 37 – enabling Selby to stop the rot and move to the brink of victory.

Once again, Day responded magnificently with a superb 16-red clearance of 139 followed by contributions to 49 and 60 to reduce the arrears to 9-7. But a loose safety shot in the next frame was pounced on by his opponent, who got over the line with 77.

“I needed to get off to a fast start [this evening] but Mark came out and made 131 in the first frame,” Day added.

“At 8-2 down, it looks like it’s early bath time. But I dug in there, found a bit of concentration and grit. It could’ve been different in the end.

“Even though it’s the World Championship, those leisure centre setups and the multi-table qualifying is something I really do not like.

“I’m going to try and get my head round it in the next week before I play, and tell myself that it is the World Championship, and we all want to finish at the Crucible.”