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Selby to take on Robertson in the Masters final

Selby to take on Robertson in the Masters final

After a terrific week of snooker in what has to be the best tournament of the season so far, the Betfair Masters final takes place at Alexandra Palace today as defending champion Neil Robertson and World No. 1 Mark Selby vie for the £175,000 top prize.

Sixteen stars came to London, now just two remain, and they'll bid to pick up snooker's most prestigious invitational prize in the best-of-19 decider, played over two sessions from 2pm and 8pm.

Neil Robertson's road to the final came via victories over Ding Junhui, Mark Allen and Shaun Murphy, and he now has the chance to become only the fourth man in history to lift The Masters title in successive years - alongside Cliff Thorburn, Stephen Hendry and Paul Hunter. And that would be quite a feat given the calibre of the elite top 16 field at this year's event.

'The Thunder from Down Under' battled back from 5-3 down in the first round to defeat Ding Junhui, before putting Mark Allen to the sword in the quarter-finals in an edgy final frame decider. The key moment of that frame saw Robertson faced with a tough snooker which he not only escaped from, but potted the red and also gained position on the black. He went on to clear the table for victory, emphasising his reputation as one of the game's toughest match players and long potters.

Last night's semi-final triumph against Murphy was a much less tense affair with the 30-year-old producing a superb display to run out a comfortable 6-2 winner. In a repeat of the 2012 final, Robertson was in high-scoring form, making four breaks of over 70 which included two centuries, while Murphy's highest was just 48.

With the Australian Open at Melbourne Park grabbing all the headlines Down Under, Robertson may not be getting the attention he deserves in his native land, but that will matter little to 'The Melbourne Machine' should he get his hands on The Masters trophy for a second time this evening.

His opponent Mark Selby, who is making his sixth appearance at the tournament, clinched his place in the decider late on Saturday night thanks to a 6-5 win over Graeme Dott. Selby put in a dogged performance as he recovered from a 4-1 deficit in a marathon match that lasted for almost five hours.

In the final frame, a break of 53 by the two-time winner after Dott had missed a black early on was enough for Selby to make it over the finish line at 12.29am.

The 'Jester from Leicester' had already staged a remarkable comeback at this year's event to beat Stuart Bingham in the first round, coming back from 5-1 down to overcome his confidence demons before easing past a below-par Mark Williams 6-1 in the quarters.

Selby is bidding for back-to-back major wins after lifting the UK Championship last month and is aiming to become one of an elite band of players to have lifted The Masters trophy three times.

 

Brendan O'Neill writes for Snooker-News.com an award-winning tennis, news and live stream website.

 

Posted Jan 19, 2013   
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