SELBY COMPLETES COMEBACK TO LIFT THIRD WORLD TITLE
It was always going to be difficult to follow the sensational semi-final of this year's Betfred Snooker World Championships in which Mark pipped China's Ding Junhui in what many have described as an all time Crucible classic. But Mark has served up another scintillating performance here in Sheffield, mounting the kind of comeback he is now famous for, to beat the 4-time world champion, John Higgins.
Mark would later admit that he felt physically and mentally drained after an enthralling battle with Ding in the semis, and was visibly struggling as he fell 10-4 behind midway through the second session. But in typical form the Jester summoned up the resolve to hit back, crucially winning the final 3 frames to close the day 10-7 behind.
The final day was to be a very different story for Mark who returned to the baize with a new spring in his step. He got off to the perfect start, taking 6 of the afternoon's 7 frames to turn the match around and lead 13-11. The evening session continued the same pattern with Mark leading the early exchanges. He would take 3 of the first 4 frame to open up a seemingly comfortable 4 frame advantage, moving to within just 2 frames of the title at 16-12.
The Wizard of Wishaw was not going to go quietly though, and thrilled a packed Crucible crowd with a spirited revival, winning 3 frames in succession to give Mark's supporters a bit of a scare. But the Jester proved he has a genuine claim to be considered as one of the all time greats of the game as he hit back with breaks of 131 and 75 to close out the match at 18-15.
In lifting the world title for the third time, Mark has secured his place alongside some of the all time greats. Only Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O'Sullivan and now Mark have ever successfully defended a world title. And only those metnioned have won the title more than twice.
There is now little doubt that Mark has cemented his position now as one of the all-time greats in the snooker world. But with the dust settling in Sheffield today after another memorable victory, the big question being asked is just how many more titles could Selby win?