Snooker World Championship: Mark Selby stuns Ronnie O'Sullivan with fightback to win final at the Crucible

The Crucible

Mark Selby produced one of the great Crucible final  comebacks late last night to win the World Championship in Sheffield.

Selby clinched a courageous 18-14 victory to deny reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan a third successive title. Behind 8-3 and 10-5 to the “Rocket”, Selby showed his class to complete a remarkable turnaround for a famous victory and deserved £300,000 first prize.

“It’s amazing. There isn’t a better feeling than this,” the Leicester player said. “There’s no better way of winning the title than beating Ronnie in the final.

“My father passed away when I was 16 and I said I’d always want to win the World Championship for him. So that’s for him. It can’t get any better this.”

Selby also became the new world No 1 having gone top of the world rankings’ money list. Not since 1992 when seven-time champion Stephen Hendry famously won 10 frames in a row, from 14-8 down, to beat Jimmy White 18-14, had the Crucible crowd witnessed such an amazing fightback in the final.

Selby’s recovery was simply staggering considering he had only mustered a top break of 42 in the opening 11 frames of what had looked like, at one stage, a one-sided contest against O’Sullivan.

“That was tough, he had me in all sorts of trouble for two days,” the deposed champion said. “He was just too strong and I went numb. He’s a worthy champion.

“He out-fought me and out-battled me, so I’ve got no complaints. Maybe four or five years ago I would have thrown the towel in, but I’m proud of the way I stuck in there.”

Selby started the day 10-7 down but breaks of 55, 52 and 74 saw him edge 11-10 in front, the first time he had led in the match.

O’Sullivan responded with a break of 50 to restore parity, but with a 12-11 lead in his sights before the break before the concluding evening session, the five-time world champion missed arguably the easiest pink of his career.

He had the perfect start to the evening session as he compiled a fine 100 break – his 12th century of the tournament – to level proceedings. However, Selby won two scrappy frames to pull two frames clear and made it a three-frame cushion with a break of 56.

O’Sullivan compiled a 49 break to cut his deficit and then a pressure run of 37 to trail by one frame. Selby, though, pocketed a brilliant 127 break, his first century of the match, to edge ever closer to victory and won the final two frames with a break of 87 and a clearance of 35.

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