Snooker

Mark Selby and Neil Robertson to renew rivalry in UK Championship semi-final

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Two of snooker's top players will go head-to-head in Saturday's Betway UK Championship semi-finals - but a Yorkshire underdog will bid for a share of the attention at York's Barbican Centre.

World number one Mark Selby will face Neil Robertson, who beat him in the 2013 final, in the evening match after they came through contrasting quarter-finals.

Before that, Leeds' David Grace will go head to head with China's Liang Wenbo for a shock place in the final.

Robertson battled past the in-form John Higgins 6-5 and the big-ticket semi-final was secured when Selby beat Matthew Selt 6-1 - the only game of Friday's four not to go the distance.

Selby said: "Neil's playing great, probably playing the best in the tournament so far, so it's going to be a tough game but I'll relish it as always.

"It'd be good to get to the final again, I played Neil in the final in 2013 and he beat me there, I played him earlier on this year and we had a good game, and I'm sure tomorrow will be no different."

Robertson is focused on building his already impressive trophy haul and cementing his standing in the game.

He said: "I've won everything in the game, the Champion of Champions was the next big title I really wanted to win and I won that, so I'm just trying to repeat the success.

"I have to motivate myself every season now to win things I've already won, to build my own legacy and try to end my career as high up as I possibly can."

Grace, by contrast, is bidding simply to retain his tour card - and a tense 6-5 win over Martin Gould means he has helped his cause to the tune of at least ?30,000.

Ranked 81st in the world and supplementing his earnings by cleaning tables at the Northern Snooker Centre, the 30-year-old will become the lowest-ranked semi-finalist since 1990 and Yorkshire's first since the late Paul Hunter in 1998 when he plays Liang - conqueror of Marco Fu - at 1pm.

Grace admitted he thought this breakthrough may never come. He said: "When you're on the tour as long as I have been and had one last 32 ever coming into this season, it's not a career, is it?

"Deep down, you do believe it's in there somewhere but it's no use saying it until it actually happens.

"As I've got through the rounds, I've been looking at the rankings and that I've been closing the gap on the top 64.

"There's lads in there that have been loads more consistent than me but under this system, you can have one good week and get yourself in there. As it stands, I think that's what it looks like I'm doing."

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