China Championship results: Mark Williams and Mark Selby through to semi-finals

Mark Williams
Mark Williams

Mark Williams moved a step closer to the China Championship title with a straightforward 5-1 victory over David Gilbert in Friday's quarter-finals.

Williams is winless in over a year since taking the World Open, also in China and also at the expense of Gilbert, the Welshman is two victories away from ending the drought.

Breaks of 63, 93, 56 and 71 in a sequence from the second frame onward saw him go from 1-0 down to 4-1 in front, before the two-time world champion took the next to advance.

He'll face Hossein Vafaei in the semi-finals, after the Iranian was a 5-3 winner over Joe Perry.

Vafaei lost to the eventual champion, Mark Selby, in this event last year and is now within touching distance of his first ranking final, having got as far as the last four in Wales last season.

On Friday, he added Perry to a list of scalps which includes Kyren Wilson and Anthony McGill, a 104 break in the first getting him off to an ideal start before a run of 66 ended the contest.

In the other half, Selby defeated Barry Hawkins 5-4, while Shaun Murphy cruised passed Kurt Maflin 5-2.

Selby battled through a draining and fascinating content with Hawkins, as the duo exchanged blows throughout the nine frames, with neither managing to get more than one frame ahead.

Selby took the first frame, but conceded the second despite a break of 58, with Hawkins pushing home his advantage with an 82 break to take the third, before Selby levelled again.

The jester from Leicester thought he'd broken his opponent's spirit by eventually taking an epic seventh frame 58-55, but Hawkins responded in kind winning the next 73-50, with a 73 break, to take it to a decider.

However that appeared to take it out of Hawkins, and a match high 98 break saw Selby take the spoils and advance to the semi-final.

Murphy started in dominate fashion, recording breaks of 74 and 85 to help take the opening two frames. Maflin gained a foothold in the match by claiming the third 85-9, and recording a match high break of 90 to take the fifth.

But Murphy always kept his opponent at bay, winning the final two frames 71-47 and 63-0.

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