| 1.4°C Belfast

Selby hits back to prevent Rocket lift-off



In control: Mark Selby has a 9-7 semi-final advantage

In control: Mark Selby has a 9-7 semi-final advantage

Getty Images

In control: Mark Selby has a 9-7 semi-final advantage

Mark Selby boosted his hopes of a fourth Crucible title as the Jester from Leicester overturned a 5-3 deficit to take control of his World Snooker Championship semi-final against Ronnie O'Sullivan.

The 37-year-old - who is looking to lift the trophy for the first time since 2017 - needed a fast start yesterday afternoon, entering the arena having won two of the opening session's final three frames to keep himself in it following some top form from the Rocket.

And Selby immediately found his rhythm in the second session, notching two half-centuries - including a break of 97 in the 10th - to rattle off four frames in succession and take a 7-5 lead.

O'Sullivan - who Selby beat in the 2014 final - fought back with two of the next three with breaks of 87 and 82, but the World No.7 had the last say of the day, claiming the 16th frame to re-establish his two-frame advantage.

Should Selby see off O'Sullivan and claim a place in the competition's showpiece, he would face either Kyren Wilson or Anthony McGill, with their semi-final set to finish this afternoon.

With both of those men searching for their first ever World Championship final place, Selby knows he would be the hot favourite to add to his tally of wins should he continue his fine display against five-time champion O'Sullivan.

Meanwhile, fans are expected to be allowed into the Crucible this weekend for the final. The government is set to announce shortly that the programme of pilots, paused at the end of July, can resume from this weekend.

That means the Crucible could welcome around 300 fans for the final two days.

More pilot events are due to be announced in the coming days, involving indoor and outdoor sports. The government's ambition to allow a wider return of fans to sport from October 1 is still said to be on track.

Live snooker returns to Eurosport and the Eurosport app. Watch the World Championship from July 31-August 16 with analysis from Jimmy White.

Belfast Telegraph