Mark Selby holds off Kyren Wilson to set up China Open final with Barry Hawkins
World champion Mark Selby held off a spirited recovery by Kyren Wilson to complete a 10-8 victory in the semi-finals of the China Open in Beijing.
The defending champion had led 5-1 and 8-5 only for world number 10 Wilson to restore parity at 8-8 with breaks of 82, 60 and 51.
But Selby showed why he is world number one with solid contributions of 66 and 58 in the final two frames of the match enough to secure a final meeting with Barry Hawkins, who overcame Neil Robertson 10-6 in the day's other semi-final.
Hawkins pieced together 73, 86, 124, 73 and 101 in reaching the final with Robertson running in 67, 79, 76, 62 and 110 as he recovered to trail 8-6 before Hawkins dominated the 15th and 16th frames for victory.
“The match was a high standard throughout, neither of us missed many balls,” said world number eight Hawkins. “I’m delighted to beat Neil because he is a top class player and he was playing well.
“After a poor start to the season, to have two finals in the last two big tournaments I have played is unbelievable. It has turned my season around and given me a lift going into the World Championship.
“It’s great to have this run in such a huge event. If I win the tournament it will be my biggest ever pay day and that’s a massive incentive.”
Wilson had recovered to trail 6-5 in an undulating match with 79 and 73 after Selby had produced runs of 96 and 78. Selby had appeared to regain control with 71 and 72 only for Kettering's Wilson to level up before his opponent's winning surge for the line.
The winner of Sunday's best-of-21 frame final will collect £225,000 - second only to the £425,000 on offer for winning the world title next month - with Selby chasing his second ranking event of the campaign after his victory over Mark Allen in the International Championship final in November.
Selby is running into form ahead of his bid for a fourth world title in Sheffield later this month.