Mark Selby returned to the top of snooker by plunging Shawn Murphy 18-15 to win his fourth world title in a tumultuous melee.
Selby halted a thrilling fight from his opponent in the final session to join John Higgins as a four-time champ, punching in the air after plunging into the Black Final under tremendous pressure.
The 37-year-old has struggled with a tumultuous period after winning his previous title in 2017, losing in the first round as a defending champion and relinquishing his place as world No. 1 after more than two and a half years without a British rating. title.
Mark Selby halted a thrilling showdown from his opponent in the final session to win the title
He rose to the top by plunging Shawn Murphy 18-15 to win his fourth world title
But talk of the Leicester player’s death proved premature as he made his way to the top, culminating in a spectacular comeback to the top this two weeks, losing just 11 frames during his first three matches.
Selby came out for the final session with a 14-11 advantage, but was well aware of the danger represented by Murphy, who reached the final in a kind of free-flow that evoked memories of his charge to the title as a new medium. – 2005 qualifiers.
By his own admission, Murphy had endured a bleak season under lockdown, complicated by travel restrictions from his home in Ireland, and he admitted he was as surprised as anyone to have rediscovered his game on the bigger stage.
The famous snooker hall saw every seat take full after fans were allowed back to their fans
Selby let out a loud roar after shedding his last black under intense pressure in Sheffield
But despite the response for centuries in a row when Selby stood in one frame of victory, it proved to be a case of what would have been Murphy, who missed two previous chances to slash Selby’s advantage in one frame.
After resuming 10-7 on the final day, Murphy won the opening match but let the Lions hang over the pocket the next day, accelerating what appeared to be the decisive step for Selby, who responded with the first century of the final while continuing. To extend its feature to four frames.
But just like in the semifinals, when he skated the last eight frames to defeat Keren Wilson, Murphy raised his game with his back to the wall, a cool 100 back him up to 13-10, and a wonderful long red help him across the streak the next day.
The hand strike with which Murphy received a reduction in arrears proved premature, as Selby gleefully swept a long red from a weak Murphy fracture into the next frame, and his subsequent 62nd eventually proved sufficient to leave the Leicester man in full control.
It was the same story at the start of the evening session, which Murphy started with a stunning long red, only then spewed the simplest pinks halfway, leaving Selby firing 66 and moving in three frames for victory at 15-11.
Fans, all wearing protective masks, were kept at the edge of their seats through the confrontation
The pair split the next two frames, then Brave 58 sent him from Murphy for the last interval mid-session still carrying a glimmer of hope at 16-13.
Selby had other ideas, as he advanced his second century of final with a flawless score of 120 to move in one frame of victory.
However, Murphy threatened one last crystal when he responded with breaks of 100 and 103 in a row to reduce the deficit to 17-15 and raise the likelihood of a great fight.
He came close to taking another after Selby broke at a break of 38 the next day, but the hard red under the pillow proved to be a step too far, and Selby was duly cleared to go along with Higgins at the all-time-list.
Murphy praised Selby, telling the BBC: It’s just granite. Unfortunately for me, I’ve known him since we were nine and he’s always been the same.
Murphy threatened one final touch in the match but Selby eventually backed out
“The match started well and he just got into a really tough situation and broke me last night – it was a tough advance to give overnight in a match of this level and maybe make the difference.”
Selby said, “ It’s absolutely unbelievable – every time you reach a world final, you always try your best because it’s a very tough tournament and you never know if it’s going to be the last or not.
Shawn played great throughout the match and is a great gamer and ambassador for the game and it’s great to see him come back.
“A few years ago, I had some really dark days, times were tough, and apparently all of the family would understand what I’m going through, so this was a special day.”
Selby’s win brought him back to second place in the world rankings and added: “My goal is to try to get back to first place. You still have huge goals in your career and I’m moving in the right direction.”