Mark Selby beat John Higgins 10-9 in a thrilling China Championship final for his first ranking title this season.
In a seven-hour match that finished after midnight local time, the 35-year-old Englishman prevailed in a scrappy final frame to claim his 15th career ranking title – and seventh in China.
Selby took a 3-1 lead in Guangzhou, but after that there was never more than one frame separating them.
When Scot Higgins missed a key red in the decider, Selby’s 35 sealed the win.
World number one Selby settled quickest – breaks of 82 and 70 helping him lead 3-1 before Higgins took three frames in succession.
Selby’s 118 was countered in the next by Higgins’ 85 as a high-quality encounter reached the interval with Higgins leading 5-4.
Selby won three of the first four frames in the evening to go 7-6 in front, before Higgins won two on the spin and Selby a tight 16th frame to make it 8-8.
Higgins won an arduous 17th frame on the final black and jumped out into a 48-0 lead in the next to move within touching distance of the win only to see Selby snatch the frame and force the decider.
‘It was a long match’ – reaction
Mark Selby: “I felt happy from the start because I knew my game was in good shape. I just wanted to enjoy the match because John is one of the all-time greats so to play him in a major final is something you dream of. To come out on the winning side is even better.”
John Higgins: “I had a good chance when I was 9-8 up. The Mark potted a great red to a middle pocket and got back into the match. It was a long match and we both had chances. The best player won in the end and every credit to Mark.”
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