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Robertson sets up Selby semi-final showdown after edging Yan thriller

Jonathan Davies in World Grand Prix

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Robertson ended Yan’s hopes in Coventry (Nigel French/PA Archive/PA Images)

Neil Robertson will play Mark Selby in the World Grand Prix semi-finals after a dramatic victory over Yan Bingtao on Thursday.

The Thunder edged the Tiger 5-4 on the final pink in a thrilling encounter at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

Yan had won three of the last four meetings and drew first blood with runs of 54 and 69, but 2020 winner Robertson hit back with breaks of 72 and 117 to go 2-1 up.

The Masters champion responded by winning three of the next four frames with contributions of 87 and 59 to move to the brink of victory at 4-3.

The Tiger then had a great chance after his opponent forced a decider, but saw it go begging after finishing too straight on the brown.

Then following a tactical battle on the blue, Robertson eventually knocked it in from distance and rolled the pink into the centre to scrape over the line.

The English Open winner set up what promises to be a mouth-watering semi-final with Selby, who defeated fellow Leicester cueist Tom Ford 5-2.

Fresh from victories over John Higgins and Judd Trump, Ford drew first blood with a neat clearance of 86.

But World champion Selby assumed control thereon; winning five of the next six frames with breaks of 104, 93 and 74 to reach his first ranking event semi-final since that fourth Crucible triumph.

Earlier in the day, Ronnie O’Sullivan advanced to the quarter-finals with a 4-1 win over Hossein Vafaei.

The Rocket was whitewashed 5-0 by the Iranian in the German Masters qualifiers in October, but avoided a repeat as breaks of 107 and 81 setting up a clash with Jimmy Robertson, who came from behind three times to edge past Scottish Open champion Luca Brecel 4-3.

Meanwhile, Stephen Maguire recovered from 3-1 down to deny Jack Lisowski, who made a top break of 128, and Stuart Bingham also prevailed in a decider against Ali Carter.

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World Grand Prix Snooker 2021 Results

Thursday December 16

Round Two

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 Hossein Vafaei
Luca Brecel 3-4 Jimmy Robertson
Stephen Maguire 4-3 Jack Lisowski
Stuart Bingham 4-3 Ali Carter

Quarter-Finals

Neil Robertson 5-4 Yan Bingtao
Mark Selby 5-2 Tom Ford