Mark Selby received an apology from Neil Robertson after the Australian got ‘unbelievable’ run of the balls and ended his title defence at the English Open, writes Will Jennings.
The Jester from Leicester succumbed to a gut-wrenching 6-5 semi-final defeat against the world No.3 after a high-scoring affair at the Marshall Arena.
Robertson made breaks of 134, 129 and 92 and while Selby battled back from 4-2 behind to tee up a decider, the 2010 world champion capitalised on elements of fortune to advance to Sunday’s final.
Three-time king of the Crucible Selby lamented his bad luck and admits Robertson offered an apology after edging a thriller in Milton Keynes.
“It just felt as though no matter what I did today, the gods were against me,” the 37-year-old said.
“Neil played well and got the run of the ball and sometimes that’s what happens - when you play well you get the run as well, so it wasn’t to be.
“I think it was just one of those games where I was probably destined not to win - everything I did just seemed to go wrong, and everything Neil did seemed to go right.
“He just said ‘I’m sorry mate!’ It was literally from start to finish, it was unbelievable - how he’s not left a red in the decider there after he’s gone into the pack and scattered them everywhere is unbelievable.
“If he leaves a red there I probably win the match at that visit and who knows, probably go on and win the tournament again but it’s not to be.
“You can’t not [apologise!] - it was there in black and white and you could see it and there’s nothing you can do.”
Selby, competing in his 49th ranking event semi-final, went 2-0 behind after a scrappy opening couple of frames.
But a third-frame break of 117 and visits of 58 and 73 cut the gap and restored parity at the mid-session interval.
18-time ranking event winner Robertson soon regained his two-frame advantage, however, as he followed up a rock-solid 58 with a brilliant 134 to lead 4-2.
The world No.4 fought back to take the pair to a final frame - after Robertson also made an eighth-frame 129 - but a gusty 92 by the Thunder from Down Under secured his spot in the final.
Selby, last month crowned European Masters champion, reckons he was far from his best at the Home Nations tournament but can take confidence from battling through to the last four.
“Even though this week I’ve got to the semis I don’t feel like I played fantastic,” he added.
“I’ve dug in and grafted, which I’ve always done in the past but performance-wise I don’t think I played fantastic.
“The good thing is I’m not playing well and still winning sometimes, which wasn’t there a couple of years ago."