Mark Selby sets up World Snooker Championship final with Ding Junhui
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 30/04/16 11:43pm
Mark Selby won a marathon semi-final against Marco Fu to set up a World Snooker Championship final against Ding Junhui.
Selby overcame Fu with a 17-15 victory which included a frame which set the record for the longest in the tournament, at 76 minutes and 11 seconds.
Selby and Fu took an hour over the closing frame of the match too, with several long safety battles, before it went the way of Leicester City fan Selby, who will be hoping for a double title celebration this Bank Holiday weekend.
Chinese star Ding earlier booked his place in the Crucible final when he fired his seventh century of the semi-final, a classy 123 to complete a 17-11 victory over Scottish veteran Alan McManus.
Before Ding's masterclass, the record in Sheffield stood at six centuries in a match, achieved by Mark Selby and Ronnie O'Sullivan, but he set a new mark as he became Asia's first World Championship finalist.
His earlier tons in the match were 100, 131, 100, 128, 138 and 113, and in a startling run of scoring he also fired breaks of 84, 62, 90, 97, 80 and 60 as well as narrowly missing out on a maximum 147 break.
The 29-year-old has been tipped to dominate snooker since his teenage years.
He won the UK Championship at the age of 18 and in 2013/14 matched Stephen Hendry's record of five ranking titles in a season, becoming world No 1 in December 2014.
A drastic dip in fortunes saw him recently slide outside the top 16, meaning he had to go through qualifying for this tournament.
But sweeping through three preliminaries bolstered his confidence for an assault on the event in which he has previously underachieved, providing what has proven to be the ideal preparation.
"I feel peaceful at the moment, just like normal. I want to be excited but my heart tells me it's like normal," said Ding after beating McManus.
"The tournament hasn't finished yet so I want to stay focused. In the first few years of playing snooker I didn't really know about the World Championship because they didn't show this tournament much on TV in China.
"The first dream was to win any tournament, then after turning professional in 2003 I wanted to win the World Championship title.
"There's more and more supporters in China, it's crazy like that. I want to stay away from that and keep calm. I've had a lot of messages. My phone's almost blown up."