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MARCO FU BEAT MARK SELBY

Marco Fu has come through a hard fought battle with world number one Mark Selby, winning 5-2 to reach the Ladbrokes Players Championship last four in Llandudno.

The victory for Fu ended the run of the only remaining World Championship winner in the event, with Ronnie O'Sullivan, Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, Stuart Bingham and John Higgins already knocked out. The pair last met in the 2016 World Championship semi-finals, where Selby won a marathon battle 17-15.  This evening's encounter would be an equally hard fought occasion. Selby started the stronger of the two players, taking the first frame thanks to a run of 86.  The Hong Kong potter then leveled the tie with runs of 47 and 54 in the second frame. Selby regained the lead, before a break of 85 from Fu made it 2-2 at the interval.

They then evoked memories of their recent World Championship clash, where they fought out a 76 minute frame. This one was slightly shorter at 46, however amidst some drawn out play, there was a compelling safety exchange on the final red. Selby needed a snooker and laid his opponent in several perilous positions. Fu negotiated all of them and claimed what proved to be a crucial frame.

He went on to win a further two on the bounce and book a semi-final clash with either Ding Junhui or Anthony Hamilton. Fu said: ''I'm very happy with the result. I wasn't that pleased with how I played, but it is always good to beat the world number one.'' ''The longer frames are the important ones. All top players can win in one visit. It can be the tight frames that determine who's going to be the winner. Tonight I was able to do a little bit better than Mark.''

 

After the defeat the world number one agreed that the drawn out fifth frame was the key moment in the match. ''For me I think the fifth frame just seemed to turn the match,'' said Selby. ''A couple of times I got him in some good snookers, but he got some very good escapes. If I had won that  frame who knows, I could have got some momentum for the rest of the match.''