sport

Selby stages Houdini act

Mark Selby staged an incredible fightback to beat John Higgins 6-5 and keep his Masters title defence running.

The defending champion was 5-3 down to his Scottish foe but fought back to 5-5 and forced a final-frame decider.

In that, Higgins held a 57-0 lead but still Selby refused to relent and the shot of the tournament got him back into the frame.

He produced a superb snooker, tucking the cue ball up behind the green on the baulk cushion - a shot which resulted in several fouls by Higgins to get Selby right back in the contest.

There was still plenty of work to do but Selby continued to chip away at Higgins' lead in a lengthy, tense frame before striking when the duo got down to the colours.

Selby produced a fine double to sink the blue into the middle pocket which left him needing just the pink to book a place in the semi-finals after more than four hours' play.

And he cut the pink into the middle from a tight angle to set up a last-four showdown with Shaun Murphy, who had staged his own comeback to defeat Marco Fu 6-4 earlier in the day.

"I'm relieved more than anything," said Selby to www.worldsnooker.com. "I played well before the interval, then after that I struggled.

"In the last frame I thought about playing safe on the blue. But I decided to just go for it full-blooded. I knew I was going towards the pink so if I missed there was a chance I would get away with it.

"John has been struggling recently but in patches it looked as if he was getting his game back. Near the end he missed a few, maybe because of nerves or doubts coming into his head.

"I've watched a bit of Shaun this week and he seems to be playing well and I'm happy for him because I don't want to see my friend struggle. But that will go out of the window on Saturday."