UK Snooker Championship 2012: Mark Selby beats Mark Davis

By Shamoon HafezBBC Sport
Selby holds nerve to reach final

Mark Selby returned to number one in the world after beating Mark Davis 9-4 in the semi-final of the UK Championship in York.

Having taken a 6-2 lead into the final session, Selby made light work of his opponent to reach his first UK Championship final.

Selby never looked in danger of missing out after taking the first frame of the final session.

He will face Shaun Murphy who came back from 8-4 down to beat Ali Carter 9-8.

It sets up the first UK final between two Englishmen since 1992 when Jimmy White faced John Parrott at the Guild Hall in Preston.

Selby's victory means he is back to number one in the world just over a month after Judd Trump took his place by reaching the final of the International Open in China.

And if he defeats 2008 winner Murphy in his maiden appearance in snooker's second-biggest major, it will add credibility to his ranking having been top previously without winning the World or UK Championship.

"The last few matches I have started rubbish but I started better today. I still did not perform so I need to work on some things for the final," Selby told BBC Sport.

"It is a great feat to get back to world number one and it is special. I put a lot of pressure on myself when I was there before so I will just go and enjoy the match against Shaun.

"We have not played each other for a long time and there is nothing better than playing in a final like the UK.

"I have not played fantastic this week, I have ground the wins out so I need to play and score better against Shaun."

In contrast, 40-year-old Davis has been a professional for 21 years, and before this season had never reached a semi-final of a ranking event. Yet he has achieved this feat three times in 2012 with appearances in the latter stages of the Wuxi Classic, Australian Open and the UK.

Despite knocking out past winners John Higgins and Matthew Stevens, Davis's lack of big match experience told, misjudging shots to leave his opponent with easy openings.

"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," said Davis afterwards.

"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."

The damage was done in the first session with the Leicester man knocking in breaks of 121 and 81, capitalising on errors from a nervous Davis - who did show glimpses of his combative qualities with a cool 80 clearance in the seventh frame - as Selby took a healthy 6-2 lead.

The session after the interval opened with a similar pattern as Davis missed a regulatory red and was punished as Selby's break of 64 took him closer to the winning line.

The Hastings man was not going down entirely without a battle though, pulling one back.

However Selby's composed knock of 76 after Davis's poor safety left him needing just one for the win, although Davis could afford a slight smile as he took a scrappy twelfth frame.

Murphy came back from 8-4 down in his semi-final on Friday to progress, but there was to be no repeat of this as Selby took the one he needed to go through.

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