Matthew Selt finds the right Lines, hits a new high

In what was his first-ever semifinal of a world-ranking event, Matthew Selt got the better of John Higgins, the defending champion, in the last-four of Indian Open snooker.

Matthew Selt

Matthew Selt of England in action at the Indian Open Snooker.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A couple of years ago, Matthew Selt felt his game was heading nowhere. All he could show for more than 10 years on the world pro snooker circuit was runs to the quarterfinals.

“I was terrible. My game was going backwards and becoming very stale,” said the 33-year-old at the Grand Hyatt here.

Thankfully, he had good friends to turn to.

“I spoke to a lot of friends, my close snooker friends, the main one being Peter Lines, and we analysed a few things I have tried. I have been working with a new coach this season, on my alignment and that has really helped,” said the world No. 51 Englishman.

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On Sunday, Selt shocked four-time World champion John Higgins 4-2 at the Indian Open in his first-ever semifinal entry at a world-ranking tournament.

“I am just absolutely delighted to beat someone of John’s calibre in the semis, my first semifinal. He’s my hero,” said the world No. 51 after the victory over the defending champion and world No. 4 here.

“I always look forward to playing him regardless of the situation. The fact that it was a semifinal helped me really because I was more concentrated on beating John rather than the situation.

Tour-survival mode last year

“Going forward, it’s exciting times again. You know, last year I was in tour survival mode but this year, I’m trying to get to back to where I was a few years ago.”

The return to Essex, from the Midlands, was also a big factor in Selt’s new form.

“Absolutely, I’m from Essex where all the top players are…there’s Ronnie (O’Sullivan), Judd Trump, Stuart Bingham, Ali Carter and Joe Perry. I moved away for a few years, it was good, I loved being in the Midlands, but I moved back about 18 months ago,” he said.

“I chatted with Peter Lines and he said I need to move back and I put my house in Midlands up for sale and moved back to Essex. I started playing with the top players again. I’m stronger, sharper now and work harder on my game.”

Selt revealed that he was calm against Higgins.

“I think it’s knowing that I’m playing okay. If you are not happy with your game, you are always panicking and looking for something. Today, I was really calm, I knew the ball would go where I wanted it to go.”

Selt’s snooker journey started at 11.

“My mom liked it because it kept me off the streets. I wasn’t particularly from a rough area but she liked it because I was safe and I was quite good from an early age.”