Mark Selby 4-3 David Gilbert
1-67, 0-122 (77), 74-61 (67), 22-73 (69), 79-9 (79), 131-0 (131), 73-32 (72)
Shaun Murphy 1-4 Yan Bingtao
5-103 (88), 0-86 (78), 77-14, 1-115 (96), 66-73
Mark Selby 3-6 Yan Bingtao
20-74, 76-6, 39-84, 78-0 (78), 0-80 (76), 21-59, 132-0 (132), 0-140 (140), 11-120 (78)
Yan Bingtao is the third player into the 2021 Cazoo Champion of Champions semi-finals after defeating Mark Selby 6-3 in a dramatic Group 2 Final at the Bolton Whites Hotel, University of Bolton Stadium.
Selby found himself up against David Gilbert first off and it was the Angry Farmer who set the early pace racing into a 2-0 and 3-1 lead. The Jester can never be counted out of any contest though and came back with a 131 to force the first decider of the week before sealing it with a 72 in the final frame to set up an evening clash with Yan.
Yan came up against Shaun Murphy with the pairs last meeting at the Cazoo Champion Champions ending in the Tiger who coming out on top, and the story was no different six years later. The Masters Champion came good with some heavy scoring including breaks of 88, 78 and 96 to meet Selby in the group final 4-1.
The evening began with Yan taking the opener against Selby in a scrappy opening frame before Selby soon fired back in the second after a brief safety battle led to a break of 68 to go level at one all.
Selby was on the hunt for his first Cazoo Champion of Champions title and found himself behind again after the third with a clearance of 47 taking Yan into a 2-1 lead. The pair did go in level at the interval after a break of 78 from Selby kept things finely poised. It was a nip and tuck contest, and Yan took advantage of an early fluke in the first frame after the break to build a solid break of 76 and a 3-2 lead.
Yan put daylight between him and Selby in the sixth after a frame that could’ve been so much easier for the World No. 12 if it wasn’t for an unfortunate in-off and a lengthy safety battle that eventually he took for 4-2.
Selby and Yan have had some battles in their time with the former edging it 3-2 going into the match. Earlier in the day, Selby became the fourth player in history to hit 700 centuries and he made his 701st in the seventh frame with a clearance of 132 to keep firmly on Yan’s heels. What Selby delivered in the seventh was special, but Yan then had his say on matters with a steely clearance of 140 to move one away from the semi-finals and make the highest break of the tournament so far.
When it boiled down to it, Yan delivered a clinical final break of 78 to deliver victory and a maiden Cazoo Champion of Champions semi-final spot.
“I was very surprised. Every time I play Mark Selby it is a very difficult match. He is very strong with safety and control. Every time I play Mark it is very difficult but tonight, I played well. I just enjoy being here, I enjoy the table and the people. I am happy for myself,” said Yan.
“At 4-2 up, he broke at 132 to give me big pressure but I thought it’s okay, I was concentrating on the next ball.”
“I think it’s okay, I do not care, I just enjoy the match. I think I would like to play Ronnie O’Sullivan in the semi-final. Every time you play Ronnie, he is very different. You come here and you need to win by beating champions to win the title.” said Yan.
Tomorrow sees O’Sullivan, John Higgins, Ding Junhui and Stuart Bingham complete the group stage of the 2021 Cazoo Champion of Champions with O’Sullivan against Bingham getting things underway from 12:45 live on ITV4 followed by Higgins against Ding. See where you can watch in your country right here.