A look ahead to semi-finals day at the Dafabet Masters…
MARK SELBY v SHAUN MURPHY
30 Age 31
2 Ranking 8
29 Centuries this season 17
7 Masters appearances 10
Winner 3 times Best Masters performance Runner-up 2012
THE CASE FOR SELBY
What more needs to be said about Selby in the Masters? Come hell or high water, he has a habit of grafting out results, a skill never more in evidence than during his nerve-wracking 6-5 defeat of John Higgins on Thursday night, his 11th deciding frame victory in 18 matches at the Masters.
THE CASE FOR MURPHY
Two solid wins over Ding Junhui and Marco Fu have seen confidence return to Murphy’s game. Some of the old swagger is back and he seems in the best frame of mind for some time to lift a major trophy.
If it goes close then you’d have to back Selby again, which is why Murphy needs to attack him from the start and not allow himself to get dragged into the sort of game which will better suit the Leicester man.
STEPHEN MAGUIRE v RONNIE O’SULLIVAN
32 Age 38
5 Ranking 24
14 Centuries this season 29
10 Masters appearances 20
4 semi-finals (inc 2014) Best Masters performance Winner 4 times
THE CASE FOR MAGUIRE
Always tough to beat when his head is right, Maguire worked hard to see off world no.1 Neil Robertson in the quarter-finals. Can play to a very high standard the kind of tight safety game which can stop naturally attacking players from hitting their stride.
THE CASE FOR O’SULLIVAN
This case is an easy one to make and can be done so by simply watching O’Sullivan’s 6-0 demolition of Ricky Walden yesterday. Strong in every department, it was a delight to watch and stands as one of the greatest ever performances in the Masters
As Maguire himself said, if O’Sullivan reproduces the form he displayed against Walden then he will surely win. Maguire has to match that or better O’Sullivan’s safety to keep him out.
Photographs by Monique Limbos.