Mark Selby is the 2023 WST Champion

Mark Selby has beaten Pang Junxu by 6-2 yesterday evening to win the 2023 WST Classic

Congratulations Mark Selby!

Here is the report by WST:

Selby Makes Three Tons To Win Final

Mark Selby won his second ranking title of the season, and 22nd of his career, by beating Pang Junxu 6-2 in the final of the inaugural WST Classic in his home city of Leicester.

Selby saved his best snooker of the week for the final, making three centuries as he outfoxed China’s Pang, who was playing in a ranking final for the first time. The trophy and top prize of £80,000 are a welcome boost for Selby, whose last title came at the English Open in December.

The 39-year-old came into the tournament unsure of his place at next week’s Duelbits Tour Championship as he sat precariously in eighth place on the one-year ranking list but his tremendous run at the Morningside Arena has boosted him to third. He now heads to Hull for the final event in the Duelbits Series and will go to the Crucible next month full of confidence as he seeks a fifth world title.

Selby remains in eighth place on the all-time list of ranking event winners, but is now just one behind both Judd Trump and Neil Robertson, neither of whom have added to their tally this season. So strong is Selby’s killer instinct when he glimpses silverware that he has now won 19 of his last 21 ranking finals. He remains second in the official world rankings but narrows the gap significantly on world number one Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Pang, age 23, turned pro in 2020 and was named Rookie of the Year in his first season. Within the past two months he has made significant breakthroughs, reaching his first ranking quarter-final at the German Masters, his first semi at the Welsh Open and now his first final. The talented cueman earns £35,000, jumps 11 places up the rankings to 35th and it surely won’t be long before he is holding a trophy.

In the semi-finals, Pang edged out Gary Wilson 5-4 in what was a crucial match for Wilson as victory would have earned him a Duelbits Tour Championship berth as well as a top 16 seeding at the Crucible. Selby, meanwhile, saw off Ali Carter 5-0 with a top break of 138.

The Englishman made a superb start to the final with breaks of 104 and 138 to go 2-0 up. Pang pulled one back with a run of 75 before Selby got the better of the fourth frame then made a 120 for 4-1. A scrappy sixth went Pang’s way, but in the seventh Selby converted a long pot on the third-last red when he led by 25 points and added the balls he needed for 5-2. And he needed only one chance to close out the result, finishing with a break of 79.

I played well all day, against John Higgins in the quarter-finals and Ali in the semis, then continued that in the final,” said Selby. “I was just gutted at the end not to make a fourth century! I have been striking the ball well in practice and it was nice to take that to the match table. Even when I won the English Open in December I wasn’t hitting the ball as well as I was this week. Hopefully I can carry that into the Tour Championship then the World Championship. I’ll be going to Sheffield confident.”

And this is what it means for the last ranking event before the World Championship (source: WST)

Duelbits Tour Championship Draw And Schedule Confirmed

The field and match schedule for next week’s Duelbits Tour Championship is now confirmed, with the event to run from March 27 to April 2 at the Bonus Arena in Hull.

The first round matches are:

Monday March 27th: Mark Allen (1) v Ding Junhui (8)
Tuesday March 28th: Ali Carter (4) v Kyren Wilson (5)
Wednesday March 29th: Shaun Murphy (2) v Robert Milkins (7)
Thursday March 30th: Mark Selby (3) v Ryan Day (6)

Tickets start at just £22 which is exceptional value for the chance to watch the best players on the planet on current form, competing in a renowned tournament. With an elite field of the top eight players from the one-year ranking list, it’s the only format other than the World Championship where matches are best of 19 frames from the first round, reflecting the stature of the event.

Televised by ITV, it’s the third and final event in the 2023 Duelbits Series and there’s a top prize of £150,000 up for grabs.

4 thoughts on “Mark Selby is the 2023 WST Champion

  1. Pang has played in as many ranking finals this season as Ronnie, Judd, Higgins, Williams, and Robertson combined.

  2. Selby’s return to form has been remarkable and sudden. Although we have seen his form go up and down a lot, he has managed to win two tournaments this season, and in ranking terms it safeguards his position at the top of the game for another couple of years.

    Pang’s greatest strength is his temperament. He continually produced his best snooker when under extreme pressure. In fact, his scoring wasn’t at its best – he can play better. At 23 he has a good future. Pang has done Ding Junhui a huge favour by knocking out Gary Wilson. In fact, Pang is Ding Junhui’s main practice partner. The Ding family and the Pang family – both from Jiangsu – are very close, and there are aspects of Pang’s technique that are reminiscent of Ding himself. Obviously, 24 frames was a lot to play in the single day, and Pang subsided in the final.

    The venue was very small, with tables 2-4 in cubicles behind a curtain with two rows of chairs. Only a handful of spectators were watching the quarter-finals and semi-final there. The main table had around 100 chairs, and was only half-full in the daytime. There was no food onsite. It’s not suitable for a big tournament, but as a late replacement they did a decent job.

      • It started out with 3 people watching! But then later more and more came, especially after Selby had beaten Carter, when they had to turn people away from a very compelling match. They should have played that semi-final on Table 3, which would have allowed more space if the main match finished early. But by that time, they were already beginning to dismantle the unused tables, probably needing a fast turnaround at the venue. The table conditions were a bit heavy towards the end of the event. Pang played his last three matches on Table 4, Table 2, then Table 1 for the final, whereas Mark Selby was on Table 1 throughout. However, it probably didn’t make too much difference as he played so well. The venue is actually quite difficult to find (a small road behind a church) and there was no signage at all. Probably they were expecting everyone to be driving, with the aid of a sat-nav. I walked from Leicester station (about 20 mins).

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