sport

Selby surges ahead of Davis

A return to the world number one spot beckons for Mark Selby after he took total control of his UK Championship semi-final with Mark Davis.

The Leicester man headed to the mid-session interval 6-2 ahead in the race to nine, with a first UK final - against Shaun Murphy - and the top ranking in the sport awaiting him.

Such a state of play would not be unusual over the course of history - Selby leads 11-1 on head-to-head - but Davis' late-career renaissance meant today's meeting was expected to be a tight one.

The 40-year-old has enjoyed a rich season - this is his third ranking semi-final already - but he looks an unlikely bet to reach a maiden top-level final now, with the form he showed in earlier-round wins over the likes of John Higgins and Matthew Stevens evading him.

The St Leonards man was not without chances. Often he was guilty of rattling the jaws with easy reds, and Selby cashed in, keeping himself together when in and around the balls, with 121 and 81 his best scores.

The tone for the session was set in the opener, with Davis twice getting his hand on the table but Selby keeping it together in a scrappy affair with a contribution of 48.

Davis got to eight in the second but misjudged a red to the corner and Selby snuck in to plunder his best score, before a 41 and a 26 helped Selby go to 3-0.

A 76 from Davis did help him get off the mark for the day in the fourth, before the 'Jester' made it 4-1 by hanging toughest in a horrible-to-watch fifth, with both players guilty of missing routine reds.

Selby was slicker in the next, capitalising on Davis' failure to cover a red to the middle early on and making 35 before coming back to the table with an 81, but his failure to get past 49 in the next - he missed a mid-range brown - let Davis in for a nerveless clearing 80.

Five-three would have been okay for Davis, but Selby ensured he was in total control at the end of the session - a 51 his highest score as he took the last frame of the afternoon.