Congratulations Mark Selby!
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Mark Selby beat Martin Gould by 9-8, in an enthralling final to win his 18th ranking title. Here are the reports by WST.
Martin Gould came from 4-0 down to end the first session of the BetVictor European Masters final locked level with Mark Selby at 4-4.
The pair will return this evening at 7pm, to play this best of 17 encounter to a finish and discover the destination of the £80,000 top prize.
Gould came close to relegation from the circuit at the end of last season, but qualified for the World Championship to cement his professional status. The Pinner Potter would move from his current world ranking of 53rd to 26th if he were to win tonight.
Selby is aiming to keep up his remarkable run of consecutive victories in ranking finals. The three-time World Champion has won all of his last nine title matches. Victory this evening would mean he has won at least one ranking title in all of the last ten seasons.
It was the Jester from Leicester who started quickest this afternoon. Breaks of 130 and 96 helped him to establish his 4-0 cushion at the mid-session.
Selby had a chance to enhance his lead further when they returned. However, he broke down on a break of 59 and allowed Gould to clear to the black with 33 to get his first frame on the board.
Further runs of 70 and a sublime 131 aided Gould in making it four on the bounce and make it 4-4, setting up a showpiece finale this evening.
Mark Selby won a pulsating BetVictor European Masters final, beating Martin Gould 9-8 to take home the title.
Victory for three-time World Champion Selby sees him pick up his first ranking silverware since the 2019 Scottish Open. It’s the 18th ranking title of the Leicester cueman’s career and he has now won at least one ranking event in each of the last 10 seasons.
Tonight’s result also extends Selby’s extraordinary run of consecutive ranking final wins. He’s been victorious in his last ten final appearances.
The £80,000 top prize gives Selby an early advantage in the six-event BetVictor European Series. The player who accumulates the most prize money over the series as a whole will pocket a bumper £150,000 bonus.
Gould leaves Milton Keynes with the consolation of £35,000. A fine week’s work, which included wins over John Higgins and Judd Trump, will see him rise from 53rd in the world rankings to 36th.
The pair were locked together at 4-4 after this afternoon’s opening session, where Gould battled to draw level having trailed 4-0.
The evening session saw both players go toe to toe, producing a barrage of breaks. Gould composed a run of 94 to take the lead for the first time at 5-4. Selby restored parity, before Gould edged back in front at 6-5. A superb century run of 113 from Selby took them into the mid-session tied at 6-6.
Selby then made it two on the bounce to lead 7-6. However, Gould refused to wilt and composed a century contribution of 107 to draw level once more at 7-7. The Pinner potter then spurned a golden opportunity to move one from victory. He missed a straightforward blue to the middle and allowed Selby to steal on the black and lead 8-7.
Gould quickly discarded the disappointment of the previous frame by making a steely 96 to force a decider. However, a match winning contribution of 72 saw Selby over the line.
Selby said: “I’m really over the moon. I played well at the start of the match and in the second session I missed a few. You are going to do that in a best of 17 match, you can’t pot everything. I thought Martin played fantastically well from 4-0 down to put me under pressure. I’m really happy how I held up in the last frame when I got a chance.
“A few years ago I was getting to finals and getting beat, not converting them. I’ve gone on a run since then. To win the last ten finals I’ve played in is incredible. You are playing the top players in the game every time in a final. To win ten on the trot is an incredible feat and something I need to be proud of.
“I always set goals every season. One of my goals is to get back to number one. Judd is miles ahead in front, but in a year he will have to defend six tournaments and if he doesn’t win those six tournaments he will lose a lot. That is my aim to get to number one. It is going to be difficult, but that is what keeps me working every day and practising hard.”
Gould said: “It’s gutting to have come up short but it was a great final. Both of us scored heavily and both of us made mistakes. We will pot balls we shouldn’t and miss some we shouldn’t miss. That is part and parcel of snooker and why sometimes we love to hate it.
“All I want to do is enjoy playing snooker. If I do that I can produce what I have done this week. There are a lot of positives to take.”
He reckoned that only Ronnie could have stopped him to reach the final and did.
He also credited his new coach, Chris Henry for giving him back his self-belief, and helping him to be a winner again.
Here are excerpts
The Jester from Leicester is keen to take the positives out of an impressive run to the last four, with significant improvements in his game thanks to new coach Chris Henry, and believes O’Sullivan managed something that no one else would have done against him.
‘A lot of positives from start to finish,’ Selby told WST. ‘I’d started working with Chris Henry, that was the first tournament I was working with him. ‘I’d seen a lot of positives there, because I think the last 18 months I probably wouldn’t have even got myself into that position to try and get to the final.
‘Ronnie played phenomenal the last three frames, he’s probably the only player that could have done that and then obviously went on to win it, so fantastic for him.
Selby won two ranking titles last season after over a year without a trophy and thanks to his work with Henry, he feels he has fully rediscovered his self belief. ‘Most definitely,’ Selby said when asked if his belief is back. ‘Belief only comes from winning and I wasn’t winning, hence why the self belief was being doubted a bit.
‘Working with Chris, he’s instilled that in me again. ‘Sometimes I get involved a bit technically and he’s sort of put that to bed, which is massive for me.