Mark Selby is the 2019 English Open Champion

It was a master class from Mark Selby in a 9-1 demolition of David Gilbert yesterday in Crawley. This is the best we have seen from Selby in a very long time.

Congratulations Mark Selby!

Here are the reports by Worldsnooker and WPBSA

First session (Worldsnooker)

Mark Selby is just two frames away from winning the 19.com English Open as he leads David Gilbert 7-1 after the first session of the final.

Selby has controlled the best-of-17 final so far in Crawley and looks to be closing in on his first Home Nations title. The match resumes at 7pm with first to nine frames to take the £70,000 top prize and the Steve Davis Trophy.

Leicester’s 36-year-old Selby is aiming to win his 16th ranking title and first since the 2018 China Championship. His hasn’t won a title on UK soil since landing his third World Championship crown in 2017.

The world number five has a formidable record in ranking finals in recent years, having won 12 of his last 13.

That stat will give little encouragement to Gilbert, especially as he needs eight of the last nine frames tonight to win his first ranking title.

He has lost his three previous finals – against John Higgins at the 2015 International Championship, Mark Williams at the 2018 Yushan World Open and Kyren Wilson at the 2019 German Masters.

The 38-year-old from Tamworth is sure to pass the £1 million mark for career earnings today but that will be little consolation if he can’t launch a fight back in the concluding session.

World number 12 Gilbert scored just 14 points in the first four frames as Selby rattled in breaks of 88, 68, 79 and 85. Frame five came down to a safety battle on the last red, Selby trapping his opponent in a snooker and clearing up from the chance that followed to go 5-0 ahead.

Gilbert got off the mark in the next in some style with a break of 101. But Selby responded with 130 and 97 to take the last two frames of the session.

Second session (Worldsnooker)

Mark Selby won his 16th ranking title with an emphatic 9-1 victory over David Gilbert in the final of the 19.com English Open in Crawley.

Gilbert described his opponent’s performance as a “masterclass” as Selby missed just seven balls in the whole match.

Leicester’s 36-year-old Selby extended his superb recent record in ranking finals as he has now won 13 of his last 14, since the 2014 World Championship.

It’s his first Home Nations title since the series was launched in 2016, and he will head to next month’s 19.com Northern Ireland Open in Belfast as the only man who can win the unique £1 million bonus on offer for capturing all four trophies in the series.

The £70,000 top prize moves him one place up the world rankings to fourth. His total of 16 ranking titles brings him level with Neil Robertson, behind Ronnie O’Sullivan (36), Stephen Hendry (36), John Higgins (30), Steve Davis (28) and Mark Williams (22).

Having monopolised the world number one position for 49 months, losing the top dog status was a blow to Selby in March this year. But he has bounced back strongly this season, reaching two semi-finals before this week’s triumph. His performance in today’s final was a reminder of his ability to control matches with superb break-building and near-flawless safety.

Gilbert has now lost all four of his ranking finals, albeit each of them against top class opponents; he was runner-up to John Higgins at the 2015 International Championship, to Mark Williams at the 2018 Yushan World Open, and to Kyren Wilson at the 2019 German Masters.

The £30,000 pay-day takes his career total earnings past the £1 million mark and moves him up one place to 11th in the world. But that will be no more than small consolation to the 38-year-old from Tamworth as he is left waiting for his first taste of silverware.

Selby dominated the first session, taking a 7-1 lead with top breaks of 88, 68, 79, 85, 130 and 97.  Gilbert had two chances in the opener tonight but couldn’t make the frame secure. Selby fluked a snooker on the last red, and from the chance that followed, cleared the table for 8-1.

And a few minutes later the contest was over as Selby’s break of 101 sealed the title.

“It’s amazing, I’m quite emotional,” admitted Selby. “Over the last 12 months, mentally it has been tough.  I have been second guessing myself, questioning myself and wondering if I would win another tournament again. It was that bad. I was playing well in practice then in matches I have been crumbling and not showing anything, it was frustrating. To win a trophy is great in terms of getting the confidence back.

“I play David a lot in practice and that’s the kind of tempo I play at. I knew today that if I was second guessing myself and taking too long over shots, David would have been thinking I was nervous. So I just tried to play the way I do in practice, which is not easy on the televised table under pressure but I managed to do it.

“I’m gutted for David because he’s a great player and an even better lad off the table. If I wasn’t in the final I probably would have been here supporting him. He keeps knocking on the door, it’s only a matter of time before he turns one of the finals into a win and when he does that I think he’ll win a lot more.

“When I first started playing snooker, if you had said I’d win three world titles and 16 ranking events I would have laughed at you. It’s incredible. If I can win 20 ranking titles before I retire I’ll be over the moon.

“It’s great to win a tournament with my daughter (four-year-old Sofia) here because it’s the first time she has seen me win a final when she understands what’s going on.”

Gilbert said: “Mark was brilliant, I don’t think there were many players in the world that would have given him a game today. It shows the level you have to play at to win one of these things. He didn’t give me anything easy, his safety just killed me. It was a masterclass.

“I’m still miles away from being one of the better players in the world – I am decent but they are on a different planet and that showed today. I’ve had a great week, it’s brilliant to get to another final and I can take away positives. I’ve got to improve and get better if I want to win one a tournament.

“He does that to my all the time in practice. I have lost that many fivers to him, I can’t tell you. I really enjoy playing him, he’s a legend of the game.”

WPBSA report with links to the important ranking information

Selby Thrashes Gilbert In English Final

20th October 2019

Mark Selby won his 16th ranking title with an emphatic 9-1 victory over David Gilbert in the final of the 19.com English Open in Crawley.

Gilbert described his opponent’s performance as a “masterclass” as Selby missed just seven balls in the whole match.

Leicester’s Selby extended his superb recent record in ranking finals as he has now won 13 of his last 14, since the 2014 World Championship.

It’s his first Home Nations title since the series was launched in 2016, and he will head to next month’s 19.com Northern Ireland Open in Belfast as the only man who can win the unique £1 million bonus on offer for capturing all four trophies in the series.

The £70,000 top prize moves him one place up the world rankings to fourth. His total of 16 ranking titles brings him level with Neil Robertson, behind Ronnie O’Sullivan (36), Stephen Hendry (36), John Higgins (30), Steve Davis (28) and Mark Williams (22).

It’s his first ranking title since the 2018 China Championship, some 13 months ago, and first on UK soil since he landed his third World Championship crown in 2017.

Having monopolised the world number one position for 49 months, losing the top dog status was a blow to Selby in March this year. But he has bounced back strongly this season, reaching two semi-finals before this week’s triumph. His performance in today’s final was a reminder of his ability to control matches with superb break-building and near-flawless safety.

Gilbert has now lost all four of his ranking finals, albeit each of them against top class opponents; he was runner-up to John Higgins at the 2015 International Championship, to Mark Williams at the 2018 Yushan World Open, and to Kyren Wilson at the 2019 German Masters.

The £30,000 pay-day takes his career total earnings past the £1 million mark and moves him up one place to 11th in the world. But that will be no more than small consolation to the 38-year-old from Tamworth as he is left waiting for his first taste of silverware.

Selby dominated the first session, taking a 7-1 lead with top breaks of 88, 68, 79, 85, 130 and 97.  Gilbert had two chances in the opener tonight but couldn’t make the frame secure. Selby fluked a snooker on the last red, and from the chance that followed, cleared the table for 8-1.

And a few minutes later the contest was over as Selby’s break of 101 sealed the title.

Mark Selby played at a very, very high standard yesterday and any snooker fan will have appreciated the fantastic skills on display. The match however had little tension as David Gilbert didn’t have the good start he needed to make it a real contest.

The most interesting part of the evening was in fact Mark’s interview with the pundits after the match. It once again illustrates that being hugely successful doesn’t necessaruly make you confident, a fact that seems to escape many fans. Mark mentioned that he had to force himself to play at a good pace, not to slow down, because he knows that a slow pace isn’t helping his game. It’s another aspect that many fans don’t get. I have been guilty of that: for years I thought that Mark’s slow play was a tactic to disrupt the opponent rhythm and I hated it. I thought that he had far too much talent to need to resort to such tactics, and of course he has talent in spades. The first doubts in my mind came after a conversation I had with Mark at the German Masters a few years back. In my mind he should have been full of confidence, and he clearly genuinely wasn’t.

David Gilbert was all smiles after the match, in stark contrast with the reactions we have seen from someone like Kyren Wilson for instance. Maybe this is what Davis is lacking: the ultimate winner mentality. Such mentality is a strong drive to success. It has to be said however that it can be destructive too: you only need to read Ronnie’s or Stephen Hendry’s bios to understand it.

One thought on “Mark Selby is the 2019 English Open Champion

  1. Mark Selby has played a whopping 42 matches already this season, 9 more than the next highest player (Barry Hawkins). Only 14 players have played as many as 20 matches.

    I guess his hard work and determination is starting to pay off…

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