Ronnie O’Sullivan has never enjoyed playing Mark Selby. In his recent autobiography, Running, he described the Leicester man as ‘The Torturor,’ which was a compliment so back-handed it could earn him a place in Britain’s Davis Cup team.
But in fact Selby didn’t torture O’Sullivan to win European Tour event 7 in Antwerp tonight – he just played really well.
He also proved that if you apply real, tangible pressure to O’Sullivan he can feel it, just like any other player can.
Few did this at the Crucible earlier this year and O’Sullivan’s big match temperament is such that he if he gets in front he frequently converts a lead into a victory.
But Selby took the game to him and it worked. In the decider, O’Sullivan missed a straightforward pot and Selby cleared for his 4-3 victory.
It’s his first title of the season and means he has now won five Players Tour Championship tournaments – more than anyone else.
As O’Sullivan put it afterwards, in sport some days you win and some you lose. The world champion certainly showed signs of becoming match fit ahead of the UK Championship at the end of this month.
This event was superbly supported by enthusiastic and respectful Belgian snooker fans and they were treated to some compelling snooker.
Judd Trump made the first maximum of his professional career on Friday night – and the 99th in snooker history – but was beaten by Selby.
Jack Lisowski, inconsistent but on his day brilliant, had a good run to the semi-finals but was also beaten by Selby, as was in form Ding Junhui, who was oddly subdued in the quarter-finals.
The field for the Grand Finals – venue as yet unannounced – is filling up with quality players with just the Gdynia event plus one more in Asia to come.
The action moves to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Tuesday for the inaugural Champion of Champions tournament.