English Open snooker results: Mark Selby to face David Gilbert in final

Mark Selby
Mark Selby

Mark Selby produced an astonishing comeback to come from 5-3 behind to beat Mark Allen 6-5 and reach Sunday's English Open final, where he'll meet David Gilbert.

In a gruelling match that lasted just under five hours, Allen looked the stronger player for large parts of the afternoon but found Selby impossible to crack, the former world number one producing a performance that was the epitome of heart and defiance to keep alive his hopes of winning his first ranking title in over a year and his 16th in total.

It will be the Leicester cueman's 25h ranking final but his first in a Home Nations series tournament and whoever wins will head to next month’s Northern Ireland Open in Belfast a quarter of the way to landing the £1 million bonus on offer for winning all four of these events.

After falling 3-1 behind at the mid-session interval, Allen took control control of the match by prising five frames on the bounce from Selby to put himself within touching distance of Sunday's final.

However, Selby refused to be bowed, pinching frame nine on the final black after Allen had only been one pot away from victory before drawing level at 5-5 courtesy of a nerveless break of 57.

When both players failed to capitalise on early chances on the 11th and deciding frame - Allen misjudging an attempted cannon on the pink when well set - Selby held himself together wonderfully to land the knockout blow, clearing to the black with a terrific break of 64 that finally ended Allen's hopes.

The first frame of the match gave an early indication of what lay ahead, Selby eventually winning it after a number of fierce tactical exchanges that prevented either player from gathering any early rhythm.

Allen offered a swift response, making it 1-1 thanks to a run of 71 that was full of deft touches and precise positional play, but he was made to pay for breaking down early in frame three, Selby stepping in with breaks of 82 and 93 to take a two-frame advantage at the break.

Allen offered the perfect retort upon the resumption, shutting Selby out with some fine safety play to win frame five in dominant fashion before getting himself back on terms at 3-3 with a classy hand of 96 that deserved a century.

Despite racing into a commanding lead in frame seven, Allen was made to fight tooth and nail to inch into the lead for the first time in the match, the Northern Irishman offering a puff of the cheeks when finally potting brown, blue and pink after 67 minutes of dogged resistance from Selby whose efforts wouldn't relent.

Nevertheless, Selby's race had finally appeared to be run when Allen edged another lengthy and fiercely-contested frame, the 42-minute 8th frame putting him on the cusp of victory before the match took another dramatic turn.

As Allen compiled an apparently match-winning break of 62 at the beginning of frame nine, one that seemed sure to seal a 6-3 victory for the Scottish Open champion, Selby cut a dejected figure in his chair but when only one pot away from victory, Allen's attempted double rattled hard in the jaws of the middle pocket before refusing to drop, affording Selby one final chance to stay afloat.

He duly took it, clawing his way back into the frame before nervelessly sinking a tough final black, setting up a grandstand finish for which, from somewhere, he managed to summon some of the best snooker he has produced in recent times as he pulled off one of the most memorable comebacks of his career.

Selby will now face David Gilbert in Sunday's best-of-17 final, which will be played over two sessions, after the Tamworth potter overcame Tom Ford by a 6-3 scoreline.

It will be Gilbert's fourth ranking final but his first in the UK having lost all three of his others - two of which in China against John Higgins and Mark Williams, with the other being in Germany against Kyren Wilson.

Gilbert lost the opening frame against Ford but quickly levelled matters with a break of 80 before taking the next two for a commanding 3-1 lead.

Ford revived his hopes of setting up an all-Leicester final against Selby with breaks of 102 and 74 to restore parity at 3-3 only for Gilbert to produce a majestic 134 total clearance to edge ahead.

The world number 12 followed that up with two breaks of 65 and 52 in frame eight for a 5-3 lead before finishing the job to seal a shot at the Steve Davis Trophy.

The final starts at 1pm and will be screened on Eurosport.

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