Selby looks to benefit from his spirited fightback

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Defending UK champion Mark Selby hopes reaching the latter stages in York can bring out his best form.

The world No 2 has yet to find his best form in the williamhill.com UK Championship but has managed to reach the semi-finals, where he will meet Ricky Walden at the Barbican Centre.

Selby came from 5-3 down to win a late-night nail-biter, finally getting over the line just before midnight on Thursday night despite giving his opponent a chance with a free ball when Barry Hawkins needed two snookers.

Selby is a specialist in last-frame deciders and said: “I never gave up, which is always my attitude, and I just managed to crawl over the line.

“A lot of the time I bring it on myself, I go out there and keep missing ball after ball and drag it out.

“I just wish I could go out there and go century-century-century like O’Sullivan!

“I wasn’t on my game in the early stages, my timing was out,” said Selby.

“I did my best to chuck it away in the last frame but crawled over the line in the end. I was lucky not to leave Barry an easy pot when he had a free ball.

“I wish I could go out and make big breaks but it’s not happening at the moment. I am not playing great but I’m still in the tournament.

“I’ll be right up for the semi-finals and hopefully that will bring the best out of me.”

Awaiting Leicester potter Selby will be Chester cueman Walden after he saw off the challenge of Irishman Mark Allen in his quarter-final.

Walden won 6-2 against an out-of-sorts Allen, who was struggling with the ferrule of his cue.

The Chester player’s parents had planned to attend should he get to the semi-final, but he said: “I spoke to my dad before and he said only if I get to the final now, so he’s gone back on his word!”

He joked: “He’s happy on the couch at the minute I think, just watching it. Great support, eh?”

Tickets are now on sale for the qualifying rounds of snooker’s World Championship at Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield next April.

Famous names such as Steve Davis, Jimmy White, Ken Doherty and rising stars like Jack Lisowksi and Michael White are likely to be among those in action in the qualifiers, which run from April 8 to 16, 2014. Tickets cost £10 and are available by calling the box office on 0114 2233777 or visiting www.sivtickets.com