UK Snooker Championship 2020: Mark Selby beats Iran’s Hossein Vafaei to reach last 16

Selby won the UK Championship in 2012 and 2016
Dates: 23 November to 6 December Venue: Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app from Saturday, 28 November.

Two-time champion Mark Selby outfought Iran’s Hossein Vafaei 6-2 to reach the last 16 of the UK Championship.

World number 36 Vafaei had taken a 2-1 lead but Selby took five in a row, including a prolonged fourth frame and the seventh on the black for victory.

Selby, who won the title in 2012 and 2016, faces fellow Englishman Barry Hawkins in the next round.

World finalist Kyren Wilson was in high-scoring form, with two centuries and a 99 in a 6-3 win over Kurt Maflin.

Englishman Wilson fell 2-0 behind but turned the match around in superb fashion, making further runs of 54 and 62 to set up a tie against Scotland’s Graeme Dott.

Wales’ Mark Williams, a two-time winner, and 2004 champion Stephen Maguire are in action in the evening session (19:00 GMT).

Selby looking forward to Hawkins encounter

Leicester’s former world number one Selby has struggled for confidence in recent seasons, failing to reach the quarter-final stage of this tournament since last triumphing four years ago.

But he has shown glimpses of returning to his best in claiming the English Open and World Grand Prix last season, as well as the European Masters at the start of the current one.

Selby had showcased his trademark granite style to pinch a fourth frame that lasted over an hour, with the last red taking 20 minutes to pot following a lengthy tactical exchange.

He then found some fluency after the mid-session interval with breaks of 50 and 52 to go through.

“It was scrappy out there but I got the win and that is the main thing,” Selby told BBC Sport.

“Barry is a great lad and I have got to known him a lot better over the last few years and when we are at tournaments we go out for food together so I am always rooting for him to win and he is rooting for me.

“Tomorrow will be different – we will both go out there and try our best and we will still be friends… unless he beats me!”

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