UK Championship snooker semis: Selby showdown for Robertson
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | December 4, 2015
UK Championship semi-finals
- Saturday, December 5th
- Break-off: 13:00 and 19:00 GMT
- Barbican Centre, York
- Live on BBC1, BBC2 and Eurosport
Just four men remain in the 2015 UK Championship Snooker, and the winner of this year’s tournament is widely expected to come from the second semi-final on Saturday evening between Coral’s 11/10 favourite Neil Robertson and world number one Mark Selby (7/4).
While the victor will then go on to face Liang Wenbo or David Grace, that subsequent encounter does look anticlimactic. To all intents and purpose the Thunder from Down Under and the Jester from Leicester, who are both former winners of this prestigious potting event, are effectively playing for the title a round early.
David Grace v Liang Wenbo
Leeds player Grace is in uncharted territory at this tournament, having beaten Robert Milkins and former world champion Peter Ebdon en route to the semis. He also holds a 3-2 head-to-head record over Chinese cueman Liang, and is a 2/1 chance to pull off another shock here.
Wenbo was wonderful in knocking out UK Championship favourite Judd Trump and defeated established Asian player Marco Fu too in a decider. He also beat Grace 6-3 at the 2013 edition in the opening round.
Punters can enhance Liang’s odds-on 2/5 price to a nifty 19/4 to repeat that exact result here, and he looks assured to follow compatriot Ding Junhui in at least reaching the final.
Neil Robertson v Mark Selby
Australian expat Robertson has had to knock out two former UK champions en route to the semis in Scottish duo Stephen Maguire and John Higgins. The Thunder’s impressive 6-1 crushing of Glasgow’s man on-fire was followed with a very different sort of result against the Wizard of Wishaw, taking that quarter-final in a decider.
Selby, meanwhile, is seeded second and has had a much easier draw than Robertson, but the Leicester break-builder is a 6/5 match outsider, which is incredible considering how he leads the Aussie 14-6 on previous head-to-heads.
While being ranked number one in the snooker world makes little difference to Selby here, it’s the fact that when the last clashed with Robertson on the green baize in a major semi-final – at the Crucible in 2014 no less – the Jester triumphed.
These rivals have met at the UK Championship before, most notably in the 2013 final. Robertson ran out a 10-7 winner in 2013, so is odds-on 4/6 match favourite to repeat that victory. It’s not the best of 33 or even 19 frames here, however, but 11.
It’s about who is first to six, then, and Selby did in both of those big matches, so that makes him a 7/1 shot on a 6-5 scoreline that books his spot in the final and effectively puts one hand on the trophy for a second UK success. There’s also a 3/1 price on this match going to a decider.
Coral’s top tip: Selby snatching his semi with Robertson 6-5 is a superb 7/1 shout.