Mark Selby reaches BGC Masters semi-finals

Selby hangs tough to repel Lee and reach semi-finals of BGC Masters

World number one Mark Selby held off a determined fightback from Stephen Lee to reach the quarter-finals of the BGC Masters.

It seemed as though 28-year-old
Selby would cruise past his fellow Englishman in his opener at Alexandra
Palace when he led 5-1, in the best-of-11-frames contest.

But the Leicester man was reined in by Trowbridge potter Lee who came back to 5-4.

No place to hide: Selby hit back to reach the last four

No place to hide: Selby hit back to reach the last four

It was there that the 37-year-old's revival stalled, as a break of 71 secured victory for Selby.

As a two-time former champion of the Masters, which moved from his longstanding Wembley home this year, Selby is among the favourites this week.

He beat Lee in the first of his Wembley finals, four years ago, and today made breaks of 66, 57, 110 and 72 in establishing his four-frame lead, and then led 57-0 in the next to bring what looked sure to be a quickfire victory into sight.

Tough to swallow: Stephen Lee gave the world No 1 all he could handle

Tough to swallow: Stephen Lee gave the world No 1 all he could handle

Lee had looked to be finished but grasped his chance to come back to the table when Selby missed an awkward red.

In went a superb break of 78 from Lee, followed by 94 in the next frame to cut his arrears to 5-3.

Selby had another clear chance to put the finishing touches in the next frame but a foul on the brown gave Lee more hope, and he tucked away the colours required to make the gap just one.

Lee had an early opening in the 10th frame but squandered it as he missed the black.

If Selby was feeling the tension it hardly showed in his cueing once he knocked in a long red, sparking a break of 71 which was enough, finally, to end Lee's challenge.