Selby through with landmark 147
Updated: Saturday, 07 Dec 2013 22:10
Mark Selby made snooker's 100th maximum break in his williamhill.com UK Championship semi-final and will now defend his title against world number one Neil Robertson.
The Leicester cueman saw off Ricky Walden 9-5 at York's Barbican Centre, with the highlights being the landmark clearance in frame seven and a closing 136.
Selby will pocket a roll-over 147 jackpot of £55,000, in addition to the tournament high break prize of £4,000, unless Sunday's final sees Robertson emulate his feat.
Selby, who missed a much simpler final black for a maximum in the China Open, said: "Up to the green, I think it was the perfect break.
"The last thing I wanted to do was underhit (the shot to the brown), so I went and underhit it and from then it was tough.
"Earlier in the season I missed the last black against Mark King so I was thinking about that, 'am I going to miss another one?', but I managed to hold myself together and pot it."
While Selby's landmark break - the second of his career, and the third made on this year's tour - will live long in the memory, he acknowledged it was out of keeping with the game.
"It came out of nowhere," he said. "We were both struggling in patches and then from nowhere, I just seemed to find that 147."
The world number two's 69 to take the opener and his opening 44 in the second were stylish but, after a shock miss on the black, the rest of frame two was anything but.
Selby won it on the black and although Walden got on the board in frame three with a 56, a missed brown in the next meant Selby led 3-1 at the interval.
He missed when well set in the first frame back and Walden took it following a great safety and pot on the green. But a bad missed pink let Selby in to make it 4-2, before his moment of history.
The 15 reds and blacks were picked off with minimal fuss, and yellow and green followed.
With brown and blue close together, though, an excellent shot was required to pot the former and run round the table off three cushions for position on the latter.
Stretching for the pink, he went through his range of cue extensions and although he potted it securely, he left the cue-ball tight on the top cushion.
After a mock scream to the crowd, he settled himself to drop a dead-weight black into the centre pocket.
Selby pumped his fist, clasped hands with Walden and received a handshake from referee Paul Collier as a packed house roared their approval.
Walden said afterwards: "I didn't think he was going to make it when he got the extension out on the pink but it was a good break.
"I was pleased for him, it's always nice to see someone have a max."
Selby took the next with a 53 break to lead 6-2 and won the first frame back when Walden missed a pink after making 40.
A 55 clinched the next but Walden made 50 and 62 to trail only 8-4.
Memories of Stuart Bingham levelling Friday's match against Robertson from 8-3 down were rife, especially when Walden extended the comeback on the resumption with an 85.
But Selby clinched victory with a 129 and can look forward to a clash with the man top of the rankings.
Robertson felt after beating Bingham that he had "a few gears to come" and Selby believes the same goes for him.
"I should hope so," he said. "If I haven't then I'm in trouble!
"It doesn't get any easier but I'm looking forward to it.
"I need to perform a lot better, cut out some of the mistakes I've been making, because I don't think I'll get those kind of chances against Neil."
Nobody has successfully defended this title since 1996, when Stephen Hendry won for the third straight year.
And Selby said: "It'd be nice to win it and be in that bracket with Stephen but I've still got a tough game ahead of me."
Robertson, asked after his semi-final about a potential clash with Selby, said: "Obviously Mark and I have played each other a few times.
"I've beaten him the last few times - the quarters of the World Open, final of the China Open, semis of Australia.
"I've played quite a bit better the last few times we've played, since the Masters. Hopefully my best snooker's to come in the final."
A disappointed Walden said: "It was a real struggle from start to finish, I couldn't get a grip on the game at all.
"My long game was pretty shocking and I couldn't get in the balls to start scoring."