Roewe Shanghai Masters 2008: Day Five – Selby fights back as Walden makes first semi

Click below to read about the first two quarter-finals of the day as Mark Selby, Marco Fu, Steve Davis and Ricky Walden were in action this morning:

Mark Selby 5-3 Marco Fu

Mark Selby became the first man to reach the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters this morning with a great comeback against the last remaining player from Asia, Marco Fu.

It was something that looked unlikely at the mid-session interval however as despite taking the opening frame, Selby was struggling to find the form that he has shown so far this week and found himself 3-1 down.

He is a fighter though and it was a different story when play resumed as Mark took a scrappy fifth frame to get the score back to 3-2 before he started to get his scoring together with a break of 64 to bring himself level. He improved on this with 85 to go back into the lead at 4-3 before finishing off the match in the next to complete a four frame winning streak.

He has played better this week but for me he remains the player to beat in Shanghai as the likes of O’Sullivan and Maguire in the bottom half have not impressed too much so far. They are both in action this afternoon though so there is time for that to change.

Steve Davis 2-5 Ricky Walden

Awaiting Selby tomorrow is world number 35 Ricky Walden who continued his excellent form to reach his first career semi-final by defeating Steve Davis 5-4.

Having already beaten Anda Zhang, Stephen Hendry and Neil Robertson this week, Ricky had already matched his best result in a ranking event by making it this far, but early on it looked as if this was as good as it was to get as Davis moved into a 2-0 lead.

Ricky however began to settle into the match as he levelled the match with breaks of 53 and 71 before hitting 65 to lead the match following the mid-session interval.

The defining moment in the match was to come in frame six though as the veteran Davis, himself having his best week in a while, looked like making it 3-3 as he made a tidy break of 65. At this point however he missed a tough long blue into the corner pocket and Walden took full advantage, clearing the table with a break of 58 to win the frame 70-65.

Though Davis had won his previous three ranking event matches 5-4, Walden was not to give him a chance to mount a fightback this time as he finished off the match in fine style with a fantastic 139 total clearance to win it there and then.

Having won the Belgian Open recently against some top players, Walden must be as confident as he has ever been during his career right now. He will be an underdog tomorrow against Selby but you just never know.

As for Davis, it has still been a good week for the ‘grandfather’ of the game as he described himself the other day, giving him a much needed boost in the rankings and increasing his chances of at least staying in the top 32 for another season.

An interesting side-note, this is the first time I have seen him break-off in a ranking event recently and I was surprised to see him use the same break-off shot that he deployed against Joe Perry in the Premier League last week. Rather than hit the corner of the reds as normal, he chose to roll gently into the back of the pack off two cushions, something that I can’t ever remember seeing before in a ranking event. Presumably he wants to eliminate the risk of leaving a long-red for his opponent to go at but it didn’t seem to work out for him today. Will be interesting to see how long he persists with this tactic.

Quarter Finals
Steve Davis 2-5 Ricky Walden 69-17, 51-38, 43-81(53), 11-87(71), 22-82(65), 65-70(58), 0-139(139)
Mark Selby 5-3 Marco Fu 77(77)-27, 6-123(78), 35-80(52), 48-75, 89(35)-52, 83(64)-7, 113(85)-30(30)