sport

Selby opens up final lead

Mark Selby will take a 5-3 lead over defending champion Neil Robertson into the evening session of the 2013 Betfair Masters final.

Australian top-seed Robertson fell 3-0 down as Selby, the winner in 2008 and 2010, resumed where he left off following his come-from-behind 6-5 semi-final win over Graeme Dott in the early hours of Sunday.

The start included Selby's first century break of the tournament before the Jester from Leicester extended his lead to 5-1, but Robertson crucially won the final two frames of the session to cut the deficit, with 10 frames the target.

Only three players have successfully defended the Masters title and Robertson fell behind in his bid to emulate Cliff Thorburn, Stephen Hendry and Paul Hunter in the best-of-19 frames final, with #175,000 the reward for the victor.

Selby, who has a fine record in the tournament he won on his debut five years ago, started the faster, brushing off the effects of his defeat of Dott, when he responded from 4-1 down to triumph.

The world number one took the opening frame at Alexandra Palace before a break of 73 earned him a 2-0 advantage over the Australian, who beat Shaun Murphy 6-2 in his semi-final.

Selby pounced on a missed red from Robertson with a first century break of the final, 102, to take a 3-0 advantage. It was the 30-year-old's first tournament ton.

Robertson, who by comparison made six centuries en route to the final, attempted to stifle Selby's momentum in the fourth frame in a tactical exchange.

A break of 78 followed for Cambridge-based Robertson, as he wrested back some of the initiative before the mid-session interval.

A missed long red in the fifth presented Selby with an opportunity to restore his three-frame lead and he did just that with a break of 84.

Robertson appeared likely to respond immediately as he accumulated 45, but a straightforward blue was missed.

Selby exploited the miss with a break of 22, but missed the pink, leaving Robertson requiring a snooker at 18 behind with 13 on the table. He did not manage it and, with two frames remaining in the afternoon session, the defending champion was four frames adrift as Selby was guaranteed a lead going into the evening session.

An out of sorts Robertson missed a red to the centre pocket, bringing to an end a break of 63, but he recovered to claim the seventh frame.

A break of 72 clinched the eighth frame in Robertson's favour to keep him in touch.