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Mark Selby downs Ronnie O'Sullivan to lift UK crown

By John Skilbeck

Mark Selby fended off a late charge from Ronnie O'Sullivan to land his second Betway UK Championship title and shred any remaining doubts about his credibility as snooker's World No.1.

In a match that peaked with a jaw-dropping stretch of play in the evening session that included three consecutive total clearances, Selby emerged a 10-7 winner.

As he lifted the trophy at the York Barbican, the 33-year-old from Leicester became the sixth player in the sport's history to secure the World Championship and UK titles in the same calendar year.

He joins illustrious company in O'Sullivan, Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, John Parrott and John Higgins, and as champion collects £170,000.

Come the end of the match there was no doubting Selby's relief, having seen a 7-2 lead slashed to 8-7 by a spell of vintage O'Sullivan break-building.

The five-time UK champion ploughed in breaks of 56, 80, 134, 130 and 82 to ask the question of Selby - but the challenge drew a rousing response.

O'Sullivan's two centuries in that streak had come either side of a 137 from Selby, with all three being total clearances.

The next ton came from Selby though, speaking volumes of his temperament as he made 134 to power one frame away from the winning line.

And after a cagey start to the next, Selby slotted a long red to set up a match-clinching 107, pointing to wife Vikki in the crowd as he potted the ball that made sure of another major piece of silverware.

O'Sullivan was hailed as "the best player in the world by far" earlier in the week by former UK champion Matthew Stevens, but Selby now has ample evidence to pick apart that argument.

Selby said: "To play Ronnie in any game means it's always a great atmosphere and gives you a buzz and makes you want to play well. I had to be on top of my game today.

"It's a fantastic feeling."

O'Sullivan admitted: "It's a fantastic night for him.

"I scored all right, but I missed too many easy balls.

"I think I did all right considering he's World No.1 and so far ahead of everyone else."

Belfast Telegraph


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