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Level-pegging in semi-final

Neil Robertson: won five of the eight morning frames

Neil Robertson: won five of the eight morning frames

Neil Robertson produced a spirited display to pull level with Mark Selby at 12-12 in their Dafabet World Championship semi-final.

With a final showdown against Ronnie O’Sullivan at stake, Selby twice saw an advantage wiped out by the 2010 champion to leave the pair level-pegging after they fought out an extended early session which spilled well into the afternoon and proved compelling viewing for a packed Crucible.

Selby started the day with a 9-7 lead and immediately pushed that out to three frames, with a superb show of skill leading to a break of 104 and the threat of it being a one-sided morning.

However, Robertson settled his nerves with a break of 85 to pull one back, before the Crucible crowd were treated to two intense frames which swung things in the Australian’s favour.

Frame 19 lasted 51 minutes as both players fought for the upper hand. Yet it was Robertson who slowly totted up the points and although Selby threatened a comeback with a break of 38, a few more telling pots from the world number one left his opponent needing snookers, which the man from Leicester could not produce.

That left Robertson just one frame behind and the scores were level at 10-10 after another compelling 45-minute tussle, which again left Selby needing snookers but unable to oblige.

Memories

The comeback sparked memories of the UK Championship final last December, when the Australian overturned a 5-1 deficit to beat his English opponent, but Selby seemed to have learned from that and returned after the mid-session interval in a composed state to take the next two frames, including a break of 73, and regain the advantage.

Yet Robertson once more halted the momentum of the 2007 Crucible runner-up, claiming the next frame thanks to a break of 64 before capitalising on some poor shots from Selby to ensure a level playing field ahead of Saturday night’s conclusion.

Both men need five more frames to reach the finals. It could be a lengthy – and enthralling – evening session.

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