MARK Selby won a brutal baize battle against John Higgins in York to reach the Betway UK Championship semi-finals.

He took it 6-5 after five hours of captivating snooker climaxed in a nail-biting deciding frame that saw more swings in momentum than many a match.

Leicester cueman Selby is bidding to end the year in which he landed his second world title by also lifting the UK trophy for a second time, and he looked to have his work cut out against the in-form Scot.

Higgins had made a sluggish start and was looking like being cut adrift when Selby made 119, 63 and 67 to surge 3-0 in front, meaning he was relieved to grab a frame before the interval to gain a foothold.

Momentum swung the Scot's way and remarkably a four-frame burst took him in front at 4-3, but Selby would not be shaken off and the match went all the way to the colours in the decider.

The tension inside the Barbican venue could hardly have been greater before Higgins fluked the yellow and had a priceless opening, but he then failed to cut back the green into its own pocket and Selby capitalised.

"I'm gutted," Higgins said. "I'd rather lose 6-0 than lose 6-5."

When it was pointed out he had showed great fight, he said: "Who cares? You show fight but you still lose. It's still gutting to lose a tough match."

Selby will face Shaun Murphy tomorrow for a place in the final.

Murphy, the 2008 UK champion, swept into the last four with a comprehensive 6-1 victory over Belgian Luca Brecel.