The afternoon match yesterday saw Matthew Selt beat Ding Junhui by 6-5.
Selt Downs Ding To Reach Antalya Final
Matthew Selt remained on course to double his tally of ranking titles by springing a surprise 6-5 victory over Ding Junhui in the semi-finals of the Nirvana Turkish Masters.
In the 27th match this week to go to a deciding frame, Selt kept his nerve in the closing moments to upset three-time UK Champion Ding, who was looking to get back to winning ways having taken the last of his 14 ranking titles three years ago.
World number 31 Selt is into the second ranking final of his career, having won his first at the Indian Open in 2019. The 37-year-old has scored fine wins this week over the likes of Zhao Xintong and Martin Gould, showing composure and an excellent tactical game.
Sunday’s best-of-19 final in Antalya will be the biggest match of his life as he takes on Judd Trump or Shaun Murphy. He is already guaranteed £45,000 but victory would bring a career-high pay day of £100,000, doubling the £50,000 he earned in India when he saw off Lyu Haotian 5-3 in the final.
The top prize would lift him into the top eight of the one year ranking list and almost certainly give him a place in the Cazoo Tour Championship later this month, and also bring him into contention for a place among the top 16 seeds at the Crucible.
The opening frame came down to the last red and Selt laid a clever snooker to set up the chance to take the lead. Breaks of 40 and 33 helped Selt double his advantage, then in the third, Ding cleared the colours to force a respotted black, but played a loose safety and Selt clipped in a long black for 3-0.
Ding’s fight back started with breaks of 97 and 60 to reduce his deficit to 3-2. In frame six, Selt led 56-0 when he missed a straight-forward red to a centre pocket. He was handed another chance but failed to convert a mid-range red to a top corner, and this time China’s Ding punished him with a 90 clearance to level the tie.
Selt held a 34-27 advantage in the seventh when he over-cut the green to a baulk corner, and again Ding capitalised with 41 to take the lead for the first time. Romford’s Selt dominated the next two with runs of 46 and 59 to edge 5-4 ahead, then Ding responded with a superb 84.
In the decider, Selt led 33-10 when he missed the black off its spot, trying to split the pack, and was fortunate to leave Ding snookered. Selt later potted an excellent long red and trickled up behind the yellow, and from the chance that followed he added the points he needed.
“It’s a pleasure to beat Ding in such a close match in a major semi-final,” said Selt, who had reached just one ranking quarter-final this season, prior to this week. “At 3-0 I let him back into it with a few mistakes. At 4-3 down it wasn’t looking good, I just wanted to book a flight and go home. But I stuck in there and managed to get over the line. I felt good in the last frame. In the end I had a tricky blue to win the match and I was so pleased to see it go in.
“I could have gone out in the first round here, Alexander Ursenbacher had chances to beat me 5-4 but luckily for me he didn’t take them, and now I’m in the final. I get more worried about playing matches in the first round than against the big names. The first round games are huge for all of us, every bit of money that you win is a real help to the livelihood. I find that the further you get in a tournament, the easier and more enjoyable it becomes. If you include the (2014) PTC event in Portugal, I have won all three semi-finals I have played in.
“Shaun and Judd are the type of people I want to be playing in finals. I have never played a best-of-19 final before. Anthony Hamilton told me that ranking event wins don’t count unless you have slept the night before (Selt’s semi-final and final in India were on the same day). So if I win this one then hopefully Anthony will credit me with one ranking victory.”
This was a good match. There were a few mistakes – that is to be expected of course – but both played well and both got good support from the crowd. It is great to see a big crowd for this event this week-end. Over the last few years, Ding often appeared to give up on matches when things weren’t going his way, but there was none of that yesterday, or indeed all week. That’s good to see.
A win today for Matthew Selt would have huge implications: it would see him provisionaaly climb to 8th place in the one year list, overtaking John Higgins, and that would – provisionally – get him in the Tour Championship draw. Remember that there are 20000 points available just the qualify for that event, and those 20000 points would, provisionally, put Matt Selt on the top 16, at the expense of Yan Bingtao. He then would not need to qualify for the Crucible. But of course there is still the Gibraltar Open to compete in. That said, Yan Bingtao has not entered it …
Jud Trump beat Shaun Murphy comprehensively, if not convincingly in the second semi-final. Here is the report by WST:
Proud Trump Digs Deep To Set Up Selt Clash
Judd Trump arrived at the Nirvana Turkish Masters low on energy, but with plenty of willpower he has reached his second consecutive ranking final, thanks to a 6-2 defeat of Shaun Murphy.
Just six days ago, Trump lost to Joe Perry in the final of the BetVictor Welsh Open, and he has set aside that disappointment and played six matches since Tuesday to give himself another chance of a title. The world number three has ridden his luck along the way – both Liang Wenbo and Zhou Yuelong missed clear opportunities to knock him out – but Trump insisted that no one tries harder as he looked ahead to his 35th ranking event final.
Over a possible 19 frames on Sunday he will face close friend and former practice partner Matthew Selt, for the trophy and £100,000 top prize in the inaugural staging of this tournament in Antalya. Trump is looking for his 23rd ranking title and first since the BetVictor Gibraltar Open a year ago.
One target he has already fulfilled this week is that – with £45,000 guaranteed – he is into the top eight of the one-year ranking list and almost certainly assured of a place in the Cazoo Tour Championship in Llandudno later this month.
Murphy had won his last three meetings with Trump, including a 13-11 success in the quarter-finals at the Crucible last year, but made too many errors tonight after a bright start.
Trump took the opening frame with a break of 79 then Murphy hit back with 99 and 91 to go 2-1 up. In frame four, Murphy had a scoring chance but made just 17 before missing the black off its spot. Trump replied with 59, then Murphy had a chance to clear but failed to pot the last red along the top cushion, allowing his opponent to square the match at the interval.
Another miss to the same corner pocket along the top cushion, on a break of 13, cost Murphy again in frame five as Trump capitalised to take the lead. In frame six, Murphy had a chance to clear from 42-0 down, but missed the pink when he led by 15 points, with half an eye on dislodging the last red from a side cushion. Trump punished him for 4-2.
Again in the seventh Murphy had a scoring opportunity but ran out of position on 37, and again Trump took advantage with a run of 58 which proved enough to go three up with four to play. In the eighth, Murphy trailed 50-0 when his attempted red to centre hit the far jaw, and that ended his hopes of a fight-back as Trump rounded off the tie with a series of crowd-pleasing pots.
“It was very cool to be out there in the one-table set up,” said Trump. “There was a big crowd and a special atmosphere. It’s exciting to get to the final of an event in a new territory. I missed a lot of balls tonight and I am nowhere near my best but throughout the tournament I have been making important clearances. Shaun started well and he was 2-1 up when he missed a black, I pinched that frame otherwise I could have been 3-1 down.
“Getting to finals is good but it’s never nice being stood clapping your opponent at the end. When I got here I was super tired and mentally it was very draining. I can take an immense sense of pride from getting to the final again. This season hasn’t gone well and I knew I needed to dig in over the last two events to get into the Tour Championship.
“I had some shocking performances early this week but managed to survive. My will to win is second to none, I had to give it absolutely everything to get through those games.
“Two of the closest people on the tour to me are Matt Selt and Oli Lines and we could have all been in the semi-finals. It’s an amazing win for Matt to beat Ding in the semi-finals of such a big occasion. This season he has mental strength and belief, he’s a whole different character. It’s going to be a very tough game but I’m happy to be playing one of my close friends.”
Shaun Murphy was poor, really poor. Judd Trump didn’t play well but he dug deep. I’m not a Judd fan but I must say that he deserves credit for the way he fought all week. He also deserves credit for putting on a great show for the crowd once the match was won. The really loved it and that’s important especially as, for live professional snooker, this is a new country.
Matt Selt played better than Judd this week, but Judd has a lot of experience when it comes to playing big finals. I make him favourite.
Now … before Csilla sinks in despair … here is something for her: Judd is currently set to play Ronnie in the Tour Championship first round. If he won today he would climb to the 4th spot and Ronnie would be set to play Willo…