Selby sets up Dott showdown
Mark Selby thrashed Mark Williams 6-1 on Friday night to book a Masters semi-final clash with Graeme Dott at Alexandra Palace.
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Selby and Williams came back from the jaws of defeat to snatch thrilling wins against Stuart Bingham and Matthew Stevens in their respective last matches, but this encounter was far from a classic.
Despite the comfortable scoreline, the 2008 and 2010 winner did just enough to overcome Williams, who had chances to win the first four frames.
"It was a strange game, I was 3-0 up when I could have been 3-0 down," Selby told worldsnooker.com.
"Mark was nowhere near his best and I found it hard to get focused. He gifted me frames and I picked up the pieces."
Selby, who came back from 5-1 down to edge past Bingham in the second round, took advantage of some sloppy safety play to edge a tight opening frame that lasted 42 minutes.
Williams overturned a 4-1 deficit to beat Stevens and looked set to level proceedings tonight but missed an easy red to hand the initiative to Selby, who duly doubled his lead.
The world number one took advantage of some more lapse safety play from Williams - albeit after Selby had taken control of the table after fluking the yellow - to clear from green to black.
Despite taking a three-frame lead, Selby's highest break to that point was a meagre 28.
However, he continued to show heart for the battle and remained on course to whitewash his opponent as a break of 48 helped him to a 4-0 lead at the interval.
Williams did at least manage to stop the rot in yet another tight frame before Selby put himself one frame away from victory with a break of 73.
He needed two visits to the table to make sure of victory and he will need to step up his performance levels if he is to claim a third Masters crown.
Earlier, a horribly out-of-sorts Judd Trump bowed out after losing 6-1 to Dott.
That it took Dott until the final frame to post a break of substance - a fine 111 - showed how scrappy an affair it was, with the Scot benefiting from taking his chances, something Trump failed to do.
Time and again he left routine balls in the jaws of the pocket. Often he missed by inches and berated himself as he walked back to his seat.
"It's weird, you expect Judd to play well and sometimes, if someone doesn't play well, it puts you off," Dott told BBC2.
"He really struggled from the first frame. I've not had any form for the last four or five months and even today I felt I missed a lot of bad shots.
"It was going to be hard for Judd to live up how he had been playing."
Until Dott's century it was an attritional affair, with him taking a 2-0 lead with moderate contributions, with his long potting the difference.
Trump got back to 2-1 despite a rash of misses in the third but that would be his last success. Dott ran away with it after that, taking the fourth after Trump missed a simple red, swiping at the air as he did so.
A 54 from Dott took it to 5-1 and, with the game almost locked up, he produced his hundred to get over the line.