MARK SELBY reclaimed his world number one ranking after beating Mark Davis 9-4 in the williamhill.com UK Championship semi-final.
The Leicester potter wasn't at his best in his last four clash but he didn't need to be and will play Shaun Murphy for the trophy tomorrow afternoon in what is his first UK final.
"I can't feel any better," he said. "I don't think it was a fantastic performance but it was good match snooker. I didn't have break after break but it is not always about that."
Selby, who has had to fight back from slow starts against Ryan Day and Neil Robertson this week, got out of the blocks the fastest this time - and led 3-1 at the first mid-session interval.
"It was good to get off to a good start instead of having to pick myself up off the floor after going three or 4-0 behind," he said.
Now he faces good friend Murphy, who is looking for his second UK crown, and Selby said he will need to be at his best.
He added: "Just to be in finals is something we strive for but, once you get there, you don't want to be on the losing end. I need to go out there and be focused tomorrow - try and score a lot better because Shaun is playing at the top of his game and he is going to go into the final full of confidence."
Davis, in his first big last four clash after two decades as a professional, looked a little overawed at the size of the occasion.
Dominating the best-of-17 encounter, Selby held a 6-2 lead at the start of the evening session and he enjoyed a relatively easy night's work.
Davis had a great chance to pinch the first on the resumption but played a careless red and was punished.
He did manage to nick the second, to give him the briefest of hope, before a 76 break put Selby just a frame from victory.
He had his chances in the 12th but, after getting himself into trouble on the colours, Davis snatched the frame to at least ensure he would take the match past the evening's mid-session interval.
The end, though, came quick.
As had been the pattern throughout several frames of the match, both players had their chances.
But it was Selby who got over the line.
Davis said: "I felt good. I was a little bit nervous to start off with but I enjoyed it. It was just the first few frames when I couldn't quite get into position, was leaving myself awkward shots and a made a few mistakes.
"I couldn't get any rhythm. I would win a frame and then Mark would win the next one.
"I played poorly tonight and so did Mark to be honest. I missed an easy red in the first frame and the balls were absolutely perfect and I was so careless.
"It was unforgivable really because it was such a big frame which I had to win to give myself a chance. It was always going to be difficult from there."
On what it would mean to win the UK, Selby added: "It's been a long while since I won my last tournament and, for my own standards, I think I probably haven't won as much as I am capable of, so to go out there and win one of the big two would be nice."