Selby and Maflin battle into semis


Published: Friday 3rd April 2015 by The News Editor

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Mark Selby and Kurt Maflin will meet in the China Open semi-finals after grinding out 5-4 victories over Robert Milkins and Shaun Murphy, respectively, in Beijing on Friday.

Milkins led four times against Selby, with a highest break of 128, but each time the world number one got back level before cruising 71-0 in the decisive frame.

“I feel as if Rob was the better player throughout the match, yet somehow I’m sitting here having won,” said Selby, who is eyeing his second ranking title of the year having won the German Masters in February.

The result meant Milkins missed out on top-16 seeding for the World Championship, handing Stephen Maguire the 16th and final automatic berth.

“It’s a shame for Rob that he missed out on an automatic Crucible place,” world champion Selby added on

“Maybe that was in the back of his mind today. But if he plays like that, there’s no reason why he can’t win three matches to qualify.

“I had a bit of run of the ball today, which was the difference between winning and losing.”

Maflin’s triumph over 2005 world champion Murphy saw the N orway-based 31-year-old progress to the second ranking semi-final of his career.

Maflin had trailed 3-1 but got back level courtesy of breaks of 89 and 103 and then, after the Masters champion’s knock of 61 had put him in the ascendancy again, got over the line by clinching frames eight and nine with runs of 74 and 73.

“It was a good match and I played solid stuff from 3-1 down,” he said. “I think I’m capable of winning a tournament, and that’s what I’m here to do. I’ve been scoring heavily. I’m happy with the way I’m playing, and hopefully I can keep getting stronger.”

Saturday’s other semi-final will be between Gary Wilson and Ding Junhui.

Wilson had found himself 2-1 down to fellow Englishman Barry Hawkins but got back level with a break of 78 and from there forged a 4-2 advantage from which he never looked back.

Ding’s clash with four-time world champion John Higgins was a topsy-turvy affair, the 28-year-old home favourite digging in from 1-0, 2-1 and 4-3 down to prevail 5-4.

The highlight was a break of 105 in frame five, with the decider up in the air for a while before the Chinese player got over the line 73-53.

Published: Friday 3rd April 2015 by The News Editor

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