Superb Selby Defends Crucible Crown

Mark Selby 2017MARK Selby turned a 10-7 deficit against John Higgins at the end of the first day’s play into an 18-15 victory to retain the Betfred World Championship, earning him his third Crucible title overall.

Selby, who three years ago recovered from 10-5 adrift to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final, came back from 10-4 behind by winning the last three frames of Sunday evening’s session, and when play resumed on Monday afternoon, he produced tough, dogged snooker to take the opening two frames to go within one of his opponent.

A break of 78 helped Higgins stop the rot and extend his lead to 11-9, but it was to be only a minor setback for Selby as he repeated his earlier style of play to take frame 21, and after the mid-session interval a break of 67 saw him level the match at 11-11, and he added runs of 58 and 72 to end the session 13-11 in front.

With a third world title in four years now a real possibility, Selby, 33, carried on where he left off by dominating the opening frame of the last session, but Higgins offered some resistance as he took the next, though he was unable to maintain the standard as a break of 71 helped ‘Jester from Leicester’ regain his three-frame advantage, and runs of 54 and 70 saw him go within two of the winning line at the mid-session interval.

Higgins, having lost 12 of the last 14 frames, kept his hopes alive as breaks of 88 and 111 saw him claw the match back to 16-14.

There was a moment of controversy in the following frame when Selby opened up a 47 point advantage and sought to lay a snooker by rolling up behind the black, only for referee Jan Verhaas to rule that the cue ball had fallen short.

Verhaas, refereeing his sixth and likely last world final, briefly rescinded the decision before reinstating the original verdict, which appeared to leave Selby mildly unimpressed, and Higgins went on to win the frame 75-47 to go within one of his opponent to set up a finish worthy of the Crucible’s 40th anniversary.

After a re-rack in the next frame, Selby produced a break of 131, and then sealed victory with a 75, clenching his fists and looking up to wife Vikki in delight, before sharing a warm embrace with his opponent.

In the post-match interview, Selby said:  “It’s a fantastic feeling – I was confident coming here because of the season I’ve had.

“But at 10-4 down I thought there was no way in the world I was coming back from that. I wanted to try to make it respectable and at one stage I was thinking I could lose with a session to spare.

“I was sitting there and thinking, ‘Try to get your act together, try and find something from within, just take one frame at a time’. And to come out 10-7 felt like I was 10-7 in front.

“My game was all over the place, I was missing ball after ball and making it too easy for John.

“I decided if I was going to lose I’d go down fighting.”

Higgins previously beat Selby in the 2007 and had warm words for his opponent. He said: ““He looks as if he could be the challenger to Stephen Hendry’s seven [world titles], I really believe that because he’s just granite, he really is. It’s really tough to play against. I take my hat off to him – fantastic.

“Mark is the toughest player I’ve ever played. I was trying to get ahead and keep my foot on him but he’s too good a player not to come back so every credit to him.

“I’m delighted to have got to the final, it’s a pity I couldn’t have gone one step further but I’m proud of myself.”

When asked about the black ball controversy, Selby said: “I could have swore the black moved a little bit.

“The referee’s decision is final and you have to go with what they go with, and Jan’s probably the best referee we have in the game and I respect his decision.”

Selby received the famous old trophy plus a record first prize of £375,000, while Higgins picked up the runner-up prize of £160,000.

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s break of 146 during his quarter-final match against Ding Junhui earned him the highest break prize of £10,000.

 

Final (best of 35 frames)

Mark Selby (Eng) 18-15 John Higgins (Sco)

First session: 76-34 (76), 7-50, 121-8 (62, 58), 0-141 (141), 40-99 (63), 1-126 (95), 54-59 (58), 33-68 Higgins6-2

Second session: 86-0 (86), 8-60, 44-74, 69-22, 1-68, 0-76 (76), 81-9 (81), 121-12 (121), 96-17 Higgins10-7

Third session: 76-1, 53-2, 29-107 (78), 63-40, 68-19 (67), 82-0 (58), 72-0 (72) Selby 13-11

Fourth session: 72-22, 36-74, 76-1 (71), 134-4 (54, 70), 34-88 (88), 0-119 (111), 47-74, 132-0 (131), 80-19 (75) Selby 18-15

 

Semi-finals results (best of 33 frames)

Mark Selby (Eng) 17-15 Ding Junhui (Chn)

First session: 45-76 (76), 77-22 (68), 24-84 (84), 99-0 (99), 73-34, 53-87 (52), 1-119 (56, 50), 0-116 (110) 5-3 Ding

Second session: 105-23 (100), 61-49, 62-26, 81-0 (67), 0-94 (84), 96-9 (85), 0-139 (139), 66-27 9-7 Selby

Third session: 128-8 (128), 6-95 (95), 6-80, 64-25 (64), 14-86, 66-61, 1-117 (117), 1-135 (128) 12-12

Fourth session: 113-2 (74), 96-1 (96), 0-61 (52), 75-43, 75-47, 1-66, 14-73 (73), 84-9 (72) 17-15 Selby

 

John Higgins (Sco) 17-8 Barry Hawkins (Eng)

First session: 93-28 (63), 69-22, 67-19 (59), 75-59 (Higgins 69, Hawkins 59), 30-100 (62), 30-95 (71), 65-25, 39-74 (74) 5-3 Higgins

Second session: 40-65, 92-6, 73-16 (51), 0-125 (115), 61-24 (53), 18-91, 89-0 (89), 73-45, 10-6 Higgins

Third session: 8-76 (69), 70-41, 56-47, 70-13, 65-62, 70-0, , 96-4 (90), 48-80 (58) 16-8 Higgins

Fourth session: 128-12 (120) 17-8 Higgins

Quarter-finals results (best of 25 frames)

Barry Hawkins (Eng) 13-9 Stephen Maguire (Sco)

25-82 (81), 88-40, 65-41, 98-4 (98), 71-43, 79-27, 57-68, 21-66, 116-0 (86), 40-81 (53), 7-69, 18-59 (57), 93-4, 46-56, 83-37, 0-135 (135), 11-65, 126-0 (126), 81-35, 69-29, 77-0 (77)

Ronnie O’Sullivan (Eng) 10-13 Ding Junhui (Chn)

0-79 (71), 12-128 (128), 7-77 (71), 79-11 (63), 99-0 (99), 102-16 (65), 69-76 (O’Sullivan 69) *respotted black, 19-107 (59), 40-87 (63), 84-42 (84), 31-64 (64), 56-82 (65), 0-120 (120), 35-68 (59), 0-87 (56), 104-0 (104), 68-43, 97-0 (97), 0-96 (69), 146-0 (146), 5-91 (87), 73-63, 0-133 (117)

Mark Selby (Eng) 13-3 Marco Fu (Hk)

71-0, 84-36, 82-0 (82), 97-0 (70), 94-0 (94), 17-77, 41-77 (60), 75-42, 78-0 (78), 76-34, 65-32 (52), 132-0 (132), 139-0 (139), 57-70 (Selby 57, Fu 56), 143-0 (143), 69-28 (65)

Kyren Wilson (Eng) 6-13 John Higgins (Sco)

1-72, 5-94 (60), 67-31, 92-0 (92), 36-53, 62-15 (61), 17-63 (62), 9-67 (59), 0-129 (129), 67-45, 86-42, 0-74 (74), 0-135 (135), 97-0 (97), 45-71, 4-71, 28-84 (61), 62-27, 37-74 (59)

Second Round results (best of 25 frames)

Neil Robertson (Aus) 11-13 Marco Fu (HK)

105-1 (105), 6-66, 86-0 (62), 78-31 (62), 90-30 (90), 1-119 (118), 14-98 (60), 47-59, 68-46, 8-121 (109), 92-6 (91), 33-94 (64), 0-73 (72), 92-0, 70-4 (58), 2-102 (56), 77-32, 73-32, 7-78 (78), 0-119 (115), 76-70, 8-70, 15-69 (69), 60-64

Graeme Dott (Sco) 6-13 Barry Hawkins (Eng)

73-16, 60-69, 15-64, 51-63 (Dott 51, Hawkins 50), 13-81, 79-43 (64), 8-72 (54), 0-92 (91), 6-91, 69-24, 57-70 (Dott 57, Hawkins 70), 28-59, 66-1 (65), 59-41 (59), 109-8 (105), 62-50, 14-68, 0-98 (98), 30-77

Mark Selby (Eng) 13-6 Xiao Guodong (Chn)

75-19 (67), 88-29 (58), 25-93, 80-5, 70-17 (51), 80-40 (76), 8-89 (89), 72-49, 0-89 (89), 62-28 (62), 0-131 (131), 68-54 (Selby 68, Guodong 54), 70-39 (57), 71-35, 51-67 (Selby 51), 16-62, 87-29 (73), 98-1 (60)

Stephen Maguire (Sco) 13-3 Rory McLeod (Eng)

72-43, 94-31 (67), 56-14, 72-43, 85-6 (71), 0-73 (73), 45-63, 72-23 (63), 118-21 (114), 87-48, 43-89, 68-20 (61), 106-16 (90), 71-60 (McLeod 60), 87-28 (57), 66-52

John Higgins (Sco) 13-9 Mark Allen (NI)

0-135 (71, 65), 0-100 (100), 68-14, 90-42 (70), 24-106 (102), 0-129 (129), 0-82 (82), 72-40 (54), 84-0 (84), 64-20, 124-0 (124), 55-1, 0-122 (116), 72-70 (Higgins 72, Allen 70), 17-65, 76-26, 5-76 (76), 64-58 (Higgins 63, Allen 58), 124-7 (120), 5-93 (54), 69-0, 89-0

Ding Junhui (Chn) 13-12 Liang Wenbo (Chn)

133-0 (111), 67-57 (Wenbo 57), 16-68 (62), 113-0 (113), 99-1 (53), 36-62, 92-0 (62), 70-12 (70), 0-84 (84), 5-83 (75), 95-29 (91), 0-130 (130), 69-51 (Wenbo 51), 0-79 (79), 94-0 (94), 31-75, 23-110 (58), 0-98 (98), 59-86 (61), 72-43, 80-0 (80), 32-95 (50), 138-0 (132), 74-16 (70)

Shaun Murphy (Eng) 7-13 Ronnie O’Sullivan (Eng)

1-110 (91), 130-0 (84), 5-75 (75), 7-128 (128), 21-77 (76), 16-84, 64-63, 0-78 (74), 91-0 (70), 0-80 (63), 0-79 (75), 44-89, 96-1 (84), 80-8 (73), 88-5 (87), 58-68, 32-105 (67), 75-52 (Murphy 55, O’Sullivan 52), 22-111 (111), 17-101 (55)

Stuart Bingham (Eng) 10-13 Kyren Wilson (Eng)

42-66, 11-89 (71), 38-62, 42-55, 6-70 (70), 76-39 (52), 92-0 (56), 53-18, 65-11 (64), 0-110 (110), 88-0 (84), 58-59, 70-9 (57), 30-61 (56), 86-24, 62-65 (56), 1-63 (63), 137-0 (137), 59-26, 1-68 (59), 0-88 (88), 80-0 (80), 15-65

First Round results (best of 19 frames)

Barry Hawkins (Eng) 10-3 Tom Ford (Eng)

67-61, 44-95 (50), 0-95 (91), 65-26 (65), 80-34 (52), 132-8 (132), 73-47 (55), 66-6, 5-72 (50), 80-0, 68-67, 64-22

Neil Robertson (Aus) 10-4 Noppon Saengkham (Tha)

83-12 (76), 83-6 (77), 90-0 (61), 68-48, 8-77, 113-0 (113), 65-60, 59-25, 62-26, 30-68, 65-15 (54), 74-1 (70), 22-77, 76-0 (76)

Judd Trump (Eng) 8-10 Rory McLeod (Eng)

96-5 (55), 64-14 (54), 58-51, 73-12, 17-80 (72), 49-64, 36-67, 0-72, 0-87 (77), 86-31, 43-64, 83-29 (65), 2-54, 44-57, 61-41, 16-80 (66), 64-33, 0-63

Ryan Day (Wal) 4-10 Xiao Guodong (Chn)

45-81 (62), 51-63, 66-70, 36-76, 61-44, 125-0 (125), 73-0 (72), 36-68, 62-65, 8-83 (67), 0-78 (78), 9-98, 98-0 (98), 0-79

Allister Carter (Eng) 7-10 Graeme Dott (Sco)

53-70, 55-81, 0-75, 52-67, 71-7 (53), 73-6, 38-82 (50), 76-0 (76), 1-71, 0-111 (111), 81-7 (74), 59-42, 18-66, 104-19 (104), 88-0 (88), 22-52, 43-81

Mark Selby (Eng) 10-2 Fergal O’Brien (Ire)

75-20, 91-2 (50), 82-14, 70-33 (63), 77-0 (77), 79-41, 83-0 (56), 95-5, 19-66, 92-4 (92), 57-73, 54-50

Anthony McGill (Sco) 2-10 Stephen Maguire (Sco)

12-116 (66, 50), 64-6 (58), 47- 61, 81-28 (55), 0-97 (97), 0-72 (60), 0-88 (50), 0-78, 0-79 (59), 1-60, 0-73 (57), 52-77 (58)

Kyren Wilson (Eng) 10-6 David Grace (Eng)

62-51, 90-18 (58), 56-70, 76-0 (72), 0-75 (75), 49-41, 71-24, 0-70 (56), 26-74, 58-42, 43-75 (52), 101-16, 0-131 (104), 93-26 (93), 70-9, 70-23

Ronnie O’Sullivan (Eng) 10-7 Gary Wilson (Eng)

74-41 (57), 64-0 (58), 125-0 (58, 63), 0-91 (54), 122-0 (122) 65-58 *respotted black, 44-70 (64), 0-99 (63), 69-78 (O’Sullivan 63), 93-59 (Wilson 50), 0-100 (100), 124-0 (124), 99-46 (74), 124-0 (83), 1-75, 4-103 (103), 90-1 (90)

Stuart Bingham (Eng) 10-5 Peter Ebdon (Eng)

97-15 (91), 77-70, 80-1 (80), 1-86, 29-66, 99-6 (74), 122-0 (122), 0-97, 74-81 (66) *respotted black, 62-61 (Bingham 62, Ebdon 55), 57-21, 73-27, 30-68, 77-74, 69-65 (Ebdon 65)

Shaun Murphy (Eng) 10-8 Yan Bingtao (Chn)

85-11 (52), 22-109 (109), 89-23 (54), 128-6 (112), 119-6 (118), 41-66, 46-85 (67), 75-40, 81-0 (81), 62-28, 4-96 (56), 59-63, 109-16 (109), 54-70, 0-94 (94), 0-108 (70), 0-72, 67-65

Marco Fu (HK) 10-9 Luca Brecel (Bel)

7-86 (55), 0-109 (109), 24-61, 5-78, 8-94 (94), 69-30, 10-78 (62), 0-76 (76), 105-0 (105), 83-29 (75), 83-17 (83), 7-64 (56), 88-8, 66-9, 81-22, 61-53, 17-99 (78), 13-85 (85), 104-1 (56)

Mark Allen (NI) 10-8 Jimmy Robertson (Eng)

30-82 (60), 37-100 (86), 69-55 (Allen 63, Robertson 55), 8-96 (61), 105-0 (105), 1-86 (78), 68-39, 62-50, 100-0 (100), 20-66, 16-102 (62), 74-51, 29-124 (66, 54), 76-7 (60), 70-56, 61-53, 63-18, 97-0 (97)

John Higgins (Sco) 10-6 Martin Gould (Eng)

77-27 (55), 82-40 (50), 66-47 (65), 84-28 (76), 96-19, 57-59 (Higgins 57), 90-0 (90), 11-100 (100), 79-10 (53), 6-109 (108), 8-76, 127-1 (127), 0-86 (86), 76-1 (67), 0-80 (80), 82-34 (82)

Ding Junhui (Chn) 10-5 Zhou Yuelong (Chn)

121-0 (60, 57), 93-0 (54), 73-16, 136-0 (136), 0-76, 78-8 (78), 0-127 (81), 103-0 (103), 132-0 (132), 17-78 (60), 0-93 (93), 67-1 (67), 43-70, 72-24, 76-43 (68)

Liang Wenbo (Chn) 10-7 Stuart Carrington (Eng)

71-0 (70), 48-47, 16-57 (55), 7-82 (63), 26-124 (124), 0-101 (101), 20-107 (107), 63-25, 81-0 (79), 75-53, 79-0 (60), 57-68 (50), 71-37 (71), 5-65, 64-21, 74-24, 76-43 (68)