Mark Selby never dropped his shoulders, he never stopped believing and he never gave up.

And, in the end, he got his reward: a second Pokerstars.com Masters title amid high drama at Wembley Arena tonight.

From 9-6 down he displayed great tenacity to claw back the deficit and edge Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-9.

The early part of the match was littered with big breaks and fine play but it was not surprising that proceedings slowed up towards the end as the tension rose.

O'Sullivan played some magnificent snooker but ultimately came wrong side of the blue off the last red in the 18th frame and missed a more difficult yellow than he would have liked. He later missed the green but this was a very tough pot playing left-handed.

Selby won that frame on the black and kept his composure to clinch the match in the decider, emulating his comeback from 8-5 down to O'Sullivan in the 2008 Welsh Open final.

But this was a better performance, the best of his career.

To win the Masters in the bearpit of Wembley in such circumstances underlines what a big occasion player he is.

This is the first final of the new decade. It is hard to see how it won't be remembered in time as one of its best.


Trevor said...

How many more cruel masters defeats is ronnie gonna have ? Thats the 3rd time he has lost 10-9 and should have won all 3. He also lost 10-8 to davis after leading cant believe he lost this one.


Great matcth, full of everything. Selby becomes the 9th player to win The Masters on more than one occasion. I'll real off the others...
Alex Higgins 1978,1981
Steve Davis 1982,1988,1997
Cliff Thorburn 1983,1985,1986
Stephen Hendry 1989,1990,1991,1992,1993,1996
Mark J Williams 1998,2003
John Higgins 1999,2006
Paul Hunter 2001,2002,2004
Ronnie O'Sullivan 1995,2005,2007,2009.

Unknown said...

A truly fine match, Selby really does have the heart of a champion.

Not wanting to kick Ronnie when he's down, but there is a delicious irony in his choice of walk on music as it typifies Selby's approach to the game.

The breakbuilding Selby showed in the final was incredible given his form all week, which had been well below his norm.

Technically, Selby is gifted but not a genius. His outstanding results are a testament to his titanic willpower to fight on, no matter what the situation.

Hats off to an amazing performance and an incredible sportsman, inspiring to see someone dig so deep and win from an almost hopeless position.

Anonymous said...

Shocking scheduling again by WS - or is this event not run by WS as it's an invitational? Anyway, my two kids couldn't watch the finish as they've got school tomorrow. Why can't the idiots who run this game realise they're missing the next generation of fans by starting so late? Total idiocy.

Anonymous said...

At least they got something right tonight a decent walk-on, why wasn't the rest of the week like this ???

Ali said...

First of all, well done to Mark Selby, a deserved winner.

However, during the epic ending, I couldn't help but remember someting John Higgins stated recently about snooker's finising times.

The match concluded at midnight, and my wife had long ago ordered my son to bed, a whole 2 hours previous, despite him really getting into the match. Of course I recorded it for him, but watching it tommorow just won't be the same for him. This brings me back to John Higgins' point about evening sessions of finals needing to start at around 6pm, thus allowing tense finals a prime time finising slot. This, I believe, is something Mr. Hearn should seriously consider.

P.S Great snooker, though.

SupremeSnooker.com said...

I think it's worth reflecting on what a wonderful week this has been for snooker.
I have a number of reasons for saying this:
1. The walk-ons. They need a bit of fine-tuning but are essentially a great idea for all tournaments.
Of course, they're nothing new. The Premier League has been using them for years and in the days when Sky used to cover WPBSA events they were commonplace, particularly when they had exclusive coverage (ie not having to share it with BBC Wales or S4C).

2. The atmosphere has been brilliant in many sessions, and tonight it was electric. I think ticket pricing needs to be looked at for afternoon sessions. Empty arenas look terrible on TV.

3. The play itself- I haven't looked at the statistics for centuries and so on, but I can't remember an overall higher standard of play at a major event for many years.
Mark Williams's return to form is especially welcome.
Ronnie's match v Williams was a real treat, as was Selby's match against Allen in a different way.
The final, of course, is something no true snooker fan who watched it will ever forget. Entertaining, positive, attacking snooker from both players. It really lived up to the billing.

This is just the start of what I'm sure will be a bright new era for snooker. I've been in touch with Barry Hearn with a few ideas of my own on how the game could be improved, and I look forward to a new era of innovation and proper management.

Anonymous said...

Comments from Ronnie (worldsnooker.com):

O'Sullivan, who missed out on his fifth Masters title, said: "I have to look at the big picture and I surpised myself by getting to the final this week. There were only six or seven frames today where I did what you would expect from a professional. It was tough. Mark is similar to me - he's either really good or really bad. I can't compare him to John Higgins or Neil Robertson because they are consistent with a steady rhythm. He has highs and lows, and that's how it was today.

"I didn't play well enough to win so I can't be disappointed. I will keep pitching up to tournaments and trying to compete. It's a miracle that I have won three World titles because I thought I would never win one. If I hadn't had the problems I've had in my game, I could have chased Hendry's record of seven.

"I'm always out to win, but the battle is with myself. I'm trying not to have too many highs and lows. For 17 years I've been playing like a plum, and being hot and cold made me depressed. I can't do that to myself any more. I felt it today and I said to myself 'don't go there'. The frustration is that if I got it right I would smash all these players up, I'd demolish them."

Paul Coleman said...

Selby's comeback stunned the crowd and even Ronnie.Mark's 109 break in the 17th was break building at its true grit best. And to win in the last frame with a double into the middle with Ronnie sat behind it open mouthed...it couldn't have been more dramatic! I don't think they should tamper with the Masters...it's got it all already!

Anonymous said...

O'Sullivan showed his usual lack of class in defeat. Easy to walk off laughing and joking when you've won like with Williams, that 'mark of a champion' is how you handle adversity.

Like a spoilt child he stormed off without waiting around to see Selby lift the trophy after giving an interview which was bereft of genuine praise for his opponent.

That spoilt what was a truly memorable final with stunning snooker from both players. One of the best in recent memory and if that doesn't get people interesteed in snooker, nothing will

Anonymous said...

Yes it was a good match and no doubt attracted a large tv audience. But yet again a snooker final ended at around midnight on the day before a normal working day. Why can't the staging of tournaments be changed to prevent this, e.g. at least by holding finals on Saturday and/or starting the evening session at 6 or 6.30? I am no stranger to late nights but I was struggling to keep awake while watching and only too well aware of the disappearing hours available for sleep before my normal (work-imposed) weekday getting up time of 5.50 a.m.

Colin M said...

Great snooker match last night! I was very disappointed for Ronnie as he really ouught to have won this 10-7 or 10-8. I thought that the thing that let him down most was his break-off shot. On virtually every occasion he left Mark a chance. Shame for Ronnie!! (But great for snooker..)

Anonymous said...

Hello, do you know if 110sport.tv are showing the Welsh Open qualifiers? I know they arent showing in Betfred betting shops.

Anonymous said...

Selby was awesome. I knew he would win all along. He's the real deal and will also win the World title this year - he's unstoppable.

Take that Ronnie fanboys! Your man has been superceded!

southerner said...

But isn't it the BBC which dictates the final starting time?
Considering that the BBC didn't bother to show the semi-final until 9pm, when it had started at 7.30 on the red button,I think that Barry Hearn should insist on starting early on the red button for the final, and let the BBC come in when it deigns to.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to make a couple of complaints. Not regards the snooker match which was excellent.

I travelled down to London from Lowestoft for the final and expected to travel home last night. I couldn't as I missed my last train. Why did the evening session start at 8.05pm while the others started at 7pm?

The prices inside Wembley are also a rip-off. The food was a disgrace and grossly overpriced and the beers and wines were equally extortionate. Having paid to get into the venue, I didn't expect the prices to be so steep.

If snooker wants to encourage more spectators to attend, it should take a serious look at the facilities and schedules.

BTW - Great to see my old friend Patsy Fagan look so well.

RichP said...

I must be in the minority with regards the scheduling as I like the late finishes and yes I do have to get up for work. Maybe a 7.30 start would be ok so last nights would have been over at 11.30 which is fair enough considering all 19 frames were played. Don't forget if it had been a 10-5 victory or less it would have finished around 9.30/10. The late finishes all add to the drama, snooker is afterall played in the clubs late at night. Don't change the scheduling Barry, it's working fine. Why does snooker have to be like every other sport?

Ray said...

(Taking nothing away from Mark Selby who played a brilliant game). Why, after all the tension, pressure and hard work of the semi-final and then final,did Ronnie take that green on in the final frame? Left handed at that! I was dismayed and astonished in equal measure. He knew, the same as all of us watching, that he had more chance of knitting fog even potting it right handed. The funny thing is if he had been playing John Higgins he would have chosen to play a good safety shot instead. Mind you, that's Ronnie. I was so sad and gutted but more so for Ronnie himself. But I will always support the genius he is even though he drives me to the depths of despair sometimes.

Anonymous said...

I agree that its far too late for kids. Had selby been playing another snail it could have gone on half the night.
Why does the final always have to be on a sunday for that matter? why not friday or saturday?

Anonymous said...

The point I was trying to make is; why the need to change the starting time for the final session?

If it's the BBC that dictates the time, then surely they could lose an hour of their religious crap that they show on a Sunday to accommodate the snooker, or at the very least, move it to BBCi.

Not all the spectators drive to the events and I ended up forking out an extra £65 for a hotel.

Anonymous said...

Selby's provisionally ranked 13, so if he has a poor run between now and the end of the season, he'll be relying on a wild card to defend his title next year.

Anonymous said...

i completely agree with Ray. Feel so gutted for Ronnie, i didn't sleep properly all night! When he didn't win at 10-7, i could feel that he was letting the match go... shame.

jamie brannon said...

Thoughts on the Masters.

1. Why is that the BBC team at the end of every event going into hyperbole mode and say this was the best event ever and the standard has never been higher. Last years Masters was different class than this year's staging. The weekend dragged it upwards in terms of quality, but there were too many poor matches for it to be regarded as a classic.

2. Were we not using the same tables as the UK Championship, if so why make excuse for fewer centuries this year as there was the regular amount in Telford.

3. Credit to Mark Selby for producing an excellent performance, as Ronnie was only a shade off his unplayable best. I am still not that keen on his play though as he just doesn't flow like a Williams or a Ronnie in the balls. I thought Williams was nearly as sexy as Ronnie on saturday.

4. Steve Davis said there would be a ranking event in Germany this February surely that is a bit soon?

5. Davis also said that the standard is higher than in 2003, I would have too dispute that, the depth of quality is greater, but at the top end I would say marginally weaker.

6. Off topic, but I was reading Phil Yates today suggesting that Hearn is coming up with a one frame event, to me I'm all for new formats to a point, but that is just nonsense, particularly if it becomes common.

7. Finally an excellent bumper edition of January Snooker Scene, although there was a mistake in the group result for the World Amateur event, a group table was duplicated. Sorry to be pedantic Dave, but I thought you may want to correct it if anyone cares!

Ali said...

"BBC2's coverage of a thrilling Masters snooker final averaged 2.9 million viewers and a 15% share between 8pm and midnight.

Viewing peaking at 3.5 million viewers and a 30% share in the quarter hour from 11.30pm as Mark Selby beat Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-9 in a nailbiting finish."

Source:The guardian

If it were earlier, I estimate figures would have been above 4m. Nonetheless, a 30% peak share is still very strong.

Anonymous said...

Well done Selby. Fantastic comeback

Ronnie talking more drivel, being ignorant and as said by a previous poster showing no class at all off the table. nothing changed there.

glad selby won. a true gentleman and a true professional in every sense!

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Hi Dave
The final was great, but this article is about Ronnie.
How are you lad! All that “Hubble Bubble” Chatter by Ronnie in Hazels Corner suddenly makes sense now. The lad is the first snooker champion that has asked himself, “How did I do that” and why cant I explain it to myself and of course others?

Most winners accept the plaudits without thinking as if it was some kind of “Natural Ability” they’ve always had. Ronnie is positively the first dissatisfied champion (many times) to question himself and ignore the wonderful self satisfied feelings of most winners.

Ronnie’s patter in his after the game interview is often more news worthy than the great shots thoughtlessly played. Hazels Corner has over one hundred years experience in snooker and sadly none of them can begin to understand Ronnie’s perpetual search for perfection. Mr hey you

PS The perfection the lad seeks is: Elegance, Poise and Finesse for all snooker players. DM

Anonymous said...

a lot of people watch the religious stuff you think is crap and they also may thing snooker is crap. dont be so narrow minded !!

Janie Watkins said...

to the query above. 110sport are not showing the Welsh qualifiers this week.

Stick with Global Snooker, we're there live. no steaming I'm afraid but all the up to date frame scores and news.

On a separate note, some great snooker in the Championship League today, particularly from Judd Trump

Anonymous said...

Janie, are the u to date scores not on the WS site too? (im not asking if your site is better!)

Anonymous said...

Mr Hey You speak's the most sense on here well done lad...

Anonymous said...

Well....if the BBC think that the Holy guff they show takes president over the snooker then fine. The National Lottery won on Saturday, as when I pressed the red button I was asked to vote on some crass question to help some dolt win a cash prize that was probably fixed in the first place.

Many years ago, Bullseye on ITV put an end to the Happy Clapper programmes on that channel.

Trevor said...

Well i think its fair to say to anon @ 4.19 that even if selby finishes outside the top 16 he is guaranteed a wild card.they are not gonna have a masters without the defending champion are they ?.my call is a place in the premier league now aswell.

Anonymous said...

In his website blog, Selby agrees that the times of matches should be brought forward to stop these late night finishes. Good to hear a player voicing his views

MJ said...

The defending champion of a tournament always qualifies automatically and is seeded 1, regardless of ranking (eg Ricky Walden in Shanghai this season and Shaun Murphy when he was world champion).

Anonymous said...

are you sure thats the case in a non ranking event like the masters MJ ?

Anonymous said...

I would assume it is the case, seeing as Murphy was seeded 2 for the Masters in 2006 when he was world champion, following the same pattern as the ranking events.

Anonymous said...

When a lady says no, she means perhaps; when she says perhaps, she means yes; when she says yes, she is no lady.