UK Snooker: Mark Selby into last eight

York Press: Mark Selby Mark Selby

MARK SELBY is still the defending champion at the UK Championship – and that fact is keeping him positive, writes Steve Carroll.

The world number two scrapped past Graeme Dott 6-2 to look ahead to a quarter-final clash today with Barry Hawkins but insists he will need to play much better if he to take another step towards keeping his crown.

Selby had a 3-1 interval lead but had to withstand a mini-fightback from the Scot before the game turned in the sixth frame when a poor miss from Dott allowed the reigning champ to clear up and ease away to victory.

But Selby remains unhappy with his form.

“Neither of us played well,” he said. “I knew it was going to be tough. I have ended up winning 6-2 but it could easily have been 3-3. I made a nice finish (in the sixth) and, in patches, made a couple of 50s but I missed far too many balls.”

Hawkins has beaten Selby on three of the last four occasions they have met – including 13-10 at the World Championships in April – and Leicester potter Selby reckons he will have to take his chances to prevail.

He added: “Barry has beaten me the last few times. He has beaten me in the World Championships and he is playing well.

“It will be another tough game. I feel as though I have never really played at all yet but I am in the quarter-finals. We will see what happens. He’s a great player and I have always rated him, ever since I first saw him a few years ago. It doesn’t surprise me what he has achieved.

“I just need to score a little better and take my chances more. I am okay in patches but I am happy to be through. That’s the main thing.”

A disappointed Dott said: “He was better than me at everything. I never showed up and that’s disappointing.

“You get days like that. I just couldn’t get through the cue ball and there’s nothing much you can do. I just struggled all day.

“I’ve won three matches and that’s all I deserved. I was hoping to improve but, obviously, I didn’t.”

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