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MARK Selby wore down Ronnie O'Sullivan in a gruelling encounter last night to reach the final of the Welsh Open.

The Leicester potter won 6-2 and will play Ding Junhui, a victor by the same margin over Shaun Murphy earlier yesterday, in today's best-of-17-frames final. O'Sullivan was the man in form heading into last night's semi-fi-nal, fresh from winning the German Masters, his first major ranking title since September 2009, and knocking out Judd Trump in the Newport quarter-finals.

Selby, though, has done enough over the past two years to be ranked the world number one.

Although O'Sullivan started as favourite, it was easy to make the case for his opponent who delivered a safety-first performance - the clever way to play against O'Sullivan - to advance to the meeting with Ding.

Ding impressed in beating Murphy to reach his first ranking event final of the season.

The 24-year-old from China has endured a largely disappointing campaign, suffering frequent firstround defeats and failing to reproduce the form which took him to the Crucible semi-finals last year.

But in Wales this week he has raised his performance, knocking out John Higgins early on.

Murphy had the only century of the match, 126 in the second frame, but runs of 91, 71, 86 and 75 earned Ding his success.

"I'm really happy to be in the fi-nal and I played well," he said.

Murphy conceded he was well beaten, saying: "When you are playing the best in the world, you have to hit them hard, and I didn't do that. I only finished two frames off in one visit and that's not good enough, I didn't take enough of my chances."


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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Feb 19, 2012
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