Selby on top of the world after reaching UK Championship final
22:03 GMT, 8 December 2012
Mark Selby reached the top of the snooker world for a second time on Saturday night and pledged to take the pressure off himself this time around, starting with Sunday's williamhill.com UK Championship final.
Selby held the game's number-one ranking for 14 months between September last year and November this, losing it to Judd Trump when the Bristol potter landed the International Championship.
No pressure: Mark Selby at the table
But with Trump falling at the first
hurdle in his defence of this title in York, Selby knew reaching the
final would put him back at the top of the ladder and he ticked that
achievement off on Saturday, completing a 9-4 victory over rugged
veteran Mark Davis.
He now meets long-time friend Shaun
Murphy in a final which will be his first ever UK showpiece, and he is
determined to learn from his previous reign at number one in order to
try and lift the trophy.
He achieved top billing last time with a win at the Shanghai Masters, but that was his last significant success.
His time in power was barren and he wants to avoid that happening again.
'It's a great feat to get back to
number one, there have only been nine number ones other than me,' he
said. 'Maybe when I was there before I put too much pressure on myself. I
need to learn from that and try and go out there and enjoy it tomorrow.
Going down: Mark Davis eyes up a shot in defeat
'I didn't come here this week with the aim of being number one. It's great that I am, but if I don't win tomorrow…'
Murphy and Selby are often off-the-radar players at events, despite their decorated resumes.
Here they have outlasted the more fancied Mark Allen, John Higgins, Neil Robertson and Trump.
As well as being evenly matched on
the baize, the two are good friends off it, and for Selby tomorrow will
be the realisation of a long-held dream.
'Me and Shaun haven't played each
other for a while but we have grown up together through the junior ranks
and always been good friends,' he said.
'I always said to him that it would
be great for us to play in a ranking final and now we are. For whatever
reason before it hasn't happened, so it will be good.'
Selby's top score today was a
second-frame 121, but he looked a little off it at the Barbican, taking a
long time to put his veteran opponent to bed.
He will need to be sharper against
Murphy – a man buzzing from a five-frame comeback against Ali Carter
last night – and he admits he has work to do.
Back on top: Mark Selby relishing a final berth
'I was missing some easy balls today and I need to work on that tomorrow,' he said.
'I am definitely motivated. I didn't play fantastic and, although it was a good match of snooker, I need to play a lot better.'
Defeat marked the end of the road at
this tournament for Davis, a seasoned pro who at the age of 40 has
finally made a serious impact on the top level of the sport.
This was his third ranking
semi-final of the week but he failed to deliver performances like those
which saw him beat the likes of John Higgins and Matthew Stevens in the
'I was a little bit nervous but I
enjoyed it. In the first few I didn't quite get into position, but
getting a 70-odd settled me down. I played poorly tonight, though,' he
'But I'm not going to let it affect me in a bad way. I've had a great week and beaten some top players.
'Even though I've been a pro for 21
years, there have been some new things for me and I know that I will
learn from it next time.'