Today’s China Open final pits together two bona fide hard men of the sport. Mark Selby and Neil Robertson will go head-to-head for the £85,000 first prize, just as they crossed cues in the Masters final two months ago.

At Ally Pally, Robertson had been superb all week but his performance in the final dipped as Selby got under his skin.

This is one of Selby’s best assets: the ability to control matches and dent the confidence of his opponents. As Shaun Murphy put it yesterday: “he is just the best safety player in the world and, in the nicest way, he brings the worst out of his opponents. Most frames go scrappy and he usually wins them.”

Robertson has already said he starts second favourite, which is a neat way of playing down expectations and putting pressure on Selby, although the world no.1 doesn’t seem to care or even notice what’s going on around him.

For Selby, playing snooker trumps all the soap opera that goes on around the sport, including all the financial rewards on offer. This is another reason he has been so consistent.

He can win titles not playing at his best, a rare skill and one which came to the fore at both the UK Championship and Masters earlier in the season.

In Beijing yesterday Robertson showed once again why he is one of the very best under pressure with two good final frames to beat Stephen Maguire in a really high quality semi-final.

The Australian is looking for his first major title of the season. It’s been coming. He’s been really close several times.

In general Robertson is playing well. The key to him winning today is coping with Selby, in particular not letting him dictate what sort of match it becomes.

For this reason Robertson needs to be positive, to attack. He is formidable in full flow but if he gets sucked into the tactical stuff he may come up short again.


Anonymous said...

Please tell your co-commentator that Robertson has never beaten Selby in any incarnation of the World Open final.
The expression, he is watching a different game to the rest of us was never more appropriate.

Unknown said...

Selby's a nice guy, but he's boring to watch. I wish Robertson would play the sort of fearless snooker he used to play - potting all those long shots - then he could blow Selby off the table.

kildare cueman said...

I dont think the grind/attack ratio is all that different between Robbo and Selby. The aussie is a slightly better long potter though.

Anonymous said...

Half Time

Bit Slow

Pressure & Money & Ranking Points so often = dull finals

Lets hope for a better 2nd half.

Anonymous said...

its well seeing the eurosport commentators aren't at the venue and are watching on a tv somewhere.

theyre still unsure if a safety or pot is tried after balls come to rest, such is their delay.

Anonymous said...

Good tournament, some exciting matches, well organised by World Snooker, excellent & comprehensive coverage on Eurosport.

Now 20 days off until Sheffield - unless you are a qualifying player...