Selby comeback earns third world snooker crown
- Author: Julie Sanders May 02, 2017,
May 02, 2017, 12:19
"To have three world titles is unbelievable and to be one of only four players to defend it is something I could only dream of".
"I can't believe it, I'm still pinching myself", said Selby after receiving the trophy and pocketing a cheque for £375,000.
It's very special to sit at three titles on own, it's is unbelievable.
Four-time former champion Higgins, who is the oldest finalist since 49-year-old Ray Reardon lost to Alex Higgins in 1982, had predicted before the match began that Selby could one day match a World Championship record.
On Monday, Selby's comeback was remarkable, but Higgins' game wilted under the pressure exerted by the world number one - and the result seemed inevitable as soon as Selby came from 10-7 down overnight to lead 13-11 heading into the decisive evening session before Higgins fought back.
'He'd outplayed me most of yesterday, so to get out 10-7 felt like a victory. "If you lose, you want to at least go down fighting".
In the 31st frame, with Selby needing two frames to claim the title, referee Jan Verhaas called a foul on Selby after he deemed that his cue ball did not make contact with the black.
A fantastic long-range red, cutting the ball into the corner pocket, opened the door for the defending champion in frame 27.
It took Selby into the mid-session interval with 12 of the last 14 frames, scoring 1059 points compared to Higgins' 308.
Higgins needed one frame in the evening session to wrap up his win over Hawkins with a 120 break. "Some people let their head go down and give in when someone gets on top of them but I know I won't play well every match".
Higgins attacked with gusto - and made a frame-winning break to set the cat amongst the pigeons, before showing his bottle to close within one.
Higgins stopped the rot in the second frame of the final session but Selby was soon back in control as he closed to within two of the winning line.
His triumph past year came on the same night that Leicester City won the Premier League title, and consequently it slipped under many a radar, with even Selby distracted by his beloved football team's success.
A fist-pump showed Selby, despite his three-frame deficit, was the more satisfied man, but he can not afford another slow start when the match resumes. After making a plant to nudge 47-0 ahead, Selby looked to lay a snooker by trickling up behind the black but left the white apparently short. He did just that to seal victory with breaks of 131 and 75. "That was my chance and if I didn't take it then I think the match would have got away from me and Ding could have come through. I'm proud of myself but he was too good on the day". He's just granite and really tough to play against, so I take my hat off to him.