Selby sees off superb Sam in Sheffield

World number one Mark Selby is the fourth player to qualify for the last eight following his 13-11 win over Sam Baird.

Selby sees off superb Sam in Sheffield
Selby never looked entirely happy during his second round match (photo: Live Snooker)

Mark Selby has cemented his place in the World Championship quarter-finals, but only after overcoming a spirited comeback from world number 59 Sam Baird.

In a match which finally ended just after 11pm on Saturday evening, Selby eventually reached the 13 frames needed for victory following a dramatic final session at the Crucible

Valiant Baird just falls short 

Holding a 9-7 lead after the first two sessions, the Jester from Leicester wasted no time in finding his form during Saturday's evening session, as he composed breaks of 134 and 84 to build an 11-7 lead.

Baird has worked hard throughout the qualifying stages and the opening round in the last few weeks though and he was not prepared to give up his place in the competition that easily. He could not produce a break over fifty, but gritted his teeth to grind out four consecutive frames to tie the match at 11-11, including a 48-minute 21st frame.

Selby admitted after the match that "at that point Baird was the favourite", but he proved why he is ranked on top of the world as he scraped the final two frames to become the first Englishman to secure his last eight place this year.

Selby admitted that Baird "played very well", whilst the rank outsider explained that he has "never been so exhausted after a game of snooker". Selby will face the winner of Mark Allen against Kyren Wilson during the week.

Tale of two halves between Higgins and Walden

John Higgins continued his impressive start to the tournament as he won his first session with Ricky Walden 5-3. There was not much to choose between the pair in the early exchanges as they shared the first four frames, with Walden becoming the first player to produce a century in the match.

John Higgins looked good, building a 5-3 lead over Ricky Walden (image via: Simon Cooper/PA)

However that break seemed to kick Higgins into shape as he went on to win three of the next four frames, producing a century contribution of his own. Walden managed just one point in the three frames he lost after the mid-session interval, facing a lot of time sat in the chair looking on as Higgins built his lead. The pair will resume their second-round tie on Sunday afternoon.