World No. 1 Selby made to work hard by Lee
Reigning world No. 1 Mark Selby was forced to fight off a late fightback from Stephen Lee before he could book his place in the quarter-finals of The Masters.
Selby appeared to be cruising when he went 4-0 and then 5-1 ahead on Wednesday. However, Lee managed to close within a frame of his rival before succumbing to a 6-4 defeat.
Both players should be roundly praised for producing a contest of high quality snooker. Two century breaks and seven others above 50 testified to the fact that, if one man allowed his rival to the table, he may not be invited back.
Selby was the standard-setter, fashioning breaks of 66, 57 and then 110 en route to a four-frame advantage. At the mid-session interval, there was little at all from which Lee could take encouragement.
However, he instantly chalked up a century of his own upon resumption, only to be tamed by a 72 from Selby. Not to be deterred, Lee hit back again with efforts of 78 and 94, before a scrappy set lifted him to 5-4.
Selby always looked the classier player though, and he deservedly won through with a closing 71 to set up a last-eight tie with Shaun Murphy.