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Selby caps stunning comeback to win world title

ESPN staff
May 5, 2014 « Hodgson has known World Cup squad for 'a while' | Test Wayin World Cup »
Mark Selby showed no signs of nerves in the final session to claim his first world title © Getty Images
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Mark Selby recorded a stunning 18-14 victory to defeat defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan and win his first ever snooker World Championship.

Selby capped a superb comeback - he trailed 10-5 at one stage on Sunday evening - with a nerveless break in the final frame. Needing to clear up to pip O'Sullivan who had built a 56-point lead, Selby did exactly that and clipped in the black to spark jubilant celebrations.

Asked post-match if the final-frame break was the best clearance of his career, Selby told the BBC: "Under the circumstances, yeah, it's not really sunk in.

"My father passed away when I was 16, before I turned professional. I always said to him I'd try to win the world championship one day and today it's come."

Selby, who moves back to world No.1 and becomes the ninth man to complete the career triple crown of World Championship, Masters and UK Championship, added: "A few weeks before, when I came back from China, I didn't play fantastic out there and I was sort of half-dreading coming to the world championship because I knew, obviously, it's one of the tournaments that I want to win and my form wasn't fantastic.

"But I had a few days off and went back to the practice tables with a clear mind and I don't know, I just put in the hard work and something seemed to click."

For the first time in any of his six finals at the Crucible, O'Sullivan went into the last session trailing his opponent.

Selby took a slim 12-11 lead into the evening session in Sheffield, but O'Sullivan soon settled the scores with a superb century break of 100; Dr Steve Peters clearly having done his work during the interval between sessions.

The self-proclaimed 'Jester from Leicester' missed frame ball to move 13-12 ahead, but O'Sullivan could not muster a response and his opponent clinched frame 25.

Selby enjoyed his first two-frame advantage of the match after he edged a scrappy exchange, before a 56 break from the 2007 runner-up ensured O'Sullivan had lost more than 14 frames in a World Championship final for the first time.

O'Sullivan hit back with a quickfire frame, which included a 49 break, to reduce the deficit to two and then one with another edgy frame.

Selby showed no signs of nerves, though, making a brilliant 127 to move within two frames of his second world title. Another 87 followed to make it 17-14 and O'Sullivan was left desperately clinging on. That grip finally relented with no little help from Selby's determined final clearance.

Mark Selby celebrates potting the final black which made him world champion © Getty Images
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