Former champ Selby survives Lee fightback
Mark Selby was given a huge scare before completing a 6-4 win over Stephen Lee to reach the Masters last eight at Alexandra Palace.
The world number one Selby led 4-0 and 5-1, but blew several opportunities as Lee recovered to 5-4 before Selby scrambled over the winning line with a contribution of 71 in the tenth frame.
Selby - who had conquered Lee 10-3 in the 2008 final for the first of his two Masters' successes - made other breaks of 66, 57, 110, 72, 57 and 52, but was a picture of relief after securing a quarter-final match with Shaun Murphy on Friday night.
Selby managed to win the opening four frames of the match without being at his best as Lee struggled to produce any breaks of real note.
After winning a scrappy opening frame of almost 30 minutes, Selby compiled a knock of 66 to move 2-0 ahead.
Lee was first among the balls in the third frame, but could only produce a break of 30 as a 57 from Selby was good enough to carry the Leicester player three frames clear.
Lee sank a long red at the outset of the fourth frame, but his woes continued as he missed an easy black.
Selby did not need any encouragement with a run of 110 carrying him into the mid-session interval with a 4-0 advantage.
Selby was unfortunate to nudge a red into a middle hole after going into the pack off the black, but Lee kept himself together to make a 100 break in snaring his first frame of the match.
Lee had an opportunity to win the sixth frame, but missing an easy red proved fatal as Selby put together 72 this time for a 5-1 lead.
Selby seemed likely to complete a 6-1 win, but missed a red with the rest to hand Lee a lifeline that he accepted by making an immaculate clearance of 78 to close to 5-2 in Selby’s favour.
That became 5-3 when Selby broke down on eight enabling Lee to come up with a contribution of 94.
Selby - having opened with a break of 52 - appeared on the cusp of victory when Lee missed the final brown in the death throes of the ninth frame.
Selby needed brown and blue, but somehow managed to follow the brown into the pocket with the white. Lee potted brown, blue and pink to stay alive at 5-4 behind.
Selby finally polished matters off with a closing 71 that left him punching the air after Lee had made the first visit to the table.