Selby and Williams lose in Wuxi Classic last eight
Mark Selby became the latest leading name to tumble out of the Wuxi Classic after a 5-4 defeat to Stuart Bingham in the quarter-finals, with Mark Williams joining him in a 5-3 loss to Marcus Campbell.
Selby won this event as an invitational tournament in China a year ago, but was always playing catch-up against fellow Englishman Bingham, who progressed with a nerveless break of 86 in the final frame to seal a semi-final match with friend Mark Davis.
Davis thumped 11th seed and 2006 world champion Graeme Dott 5-0 to reach his first semi-final in 21 years as a professional.
World number three Mark Williams followed Selby out of the tournament after struggling for peak form in sticky conditions. Scotsman Campbell will meet Ricky Walden in the semi-finals after he completed a 5-3 win over Robert Milkins.
Bingham, world number 16 and 14th seed, has won all of his matches at the Wuxi Classic in the final frame - overcoming former world champions Peter Ebdon and Ken Doherty - in the previous two rounds before usurping Selby.
The pair split the opening two frames of the match with Bingham running in 48 and Selby compiling a similar break to level at 1-1. Bingham was clearly relishing his day at the office as knocks of 63 and 110 carried the Essex player 3-1 ahead at the mid-session interval.
A 64 helped Selby back to 3-2 behind only for Bingham to get going again in finishing off frame six with a 44 to move within one frame of the winning line.
He was on the cusp of a 5-2 win only to miss the final red to a middle bag as Selby returned to the table to close to 4-3 behind.
Australian Open winner Bingham was first among the balls, but broke down on 39 in the eighth frame. Selby compiled 92 to forced the deciding frame.
Selby had outlasted Bingham in the final frame on their three previous outings, but Bingham was faultless under scrutiny as he scattered the pack of reds early on before compiling a match-winning knock of 86. The Northern Irish player Mark Allen's recent accusations that Bingham was a "bottler" have seemed silly this week.
Davis encountered little strife in taking care of business against Dott with modest breaks of 40, 42, 46, 40 and 47 more than enough to secure his advancement.
Like Davis, Dumbarton's Campbell reached the first ranking semi-final of his career partly aided by Williams's nagging inability to produce his trademark scoring game.
Campbell collected three of the first four frames with knocks of 66, 88 and 45. Williams restored parity at 3-3 with a 46 and 76, but Campbell held himself together to dominate the next two frames with a classy 60 securing his passage in pursuit of a £75,000 winner's cheque.
Walden found himself 3-1 behind at the mid-session interval despite rolling in a 104 in frame three with Milkins establishing a two-frame advantage courtesy of a telling 81 run. Walden, from Chester and with a piercing style of play, was hardly down and out.
He assumed control from that point onwards as he produced 102, 72 and 68 in claiming the final four frames of the match. Walden is hoping to snag the second ranking title of his career having won the Shanghai Masters in 2008.
Interestingly enough, this tournament suggests snooker remains far from the preserve of a younger generation. Walden is the youngest semi-finalist at the age of 29. Neither have Davis (39), Campbell (39) and Bingham (36) been fortunate to reach the last four.
Wuxi Classic semi-finals (best of 11 frames)
Saturday schedule (All times BST)
7.30am Stuart Bingham (Eng) v Mark Davis (Eng)
12.30pm Ricky Walden (Eng) v Marcus Campbell (Sco)