Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Selby lands silverware in Germany

A dominant Mark Selby won what he hopes will be the first of many ranking titles this season at the Paul Hunter Classic.

With a big crowd turning out in Fuerth for the fourth PTC event of the campaign, the Jester from Leicester pulled out all the stops as he steamrolled his way impressively to the trophy.

Included within his seven match wins were five whitewashes as he blew away the field with some exceptional break building.

One of these came in the final, where he defeated Mark Davis 4-0.

The only player capable of pushing him all the way this weekend was Ronnie O’Sullivan, who earned a lot of praise for another good run built on a focused attitude.

With the Rocket 3-1 up in the semi-final, Selby showed he can still mix it, coming back with grit and graft to win 4-3 to continue his fine record against the three-time world champion.

This was definitely the stand-out moment of his excellent weekend but, yet again, Selby proved he can score as well as the best players in the world.

Often criticised for his ‘negative approach’, some people seem to forget how lethal he is in the balls. While his safety game isn’t as opportunist as, say O’Sullivan, it’s a bit of myth to say he’s a negative player.

In fact, he’s probably as predatory as Ding when it comes to winning frames in one visit.

Anyone who watches him regularly will appreciate that.

So, Selby got his hands on his first ranking pot of the season, which means he already equals his ranking titles haul for the whole of last season.

Now, he’ll be desperate to add more. Starting in Shanghai next week.

Last season, he ended a career-high number three in the world rankings, and he's not far away from a place as world number one now.

But this has achieved through a consistent accumulation of points instead of finishing events on top of the podium. 

Defeats in the final at both the German Masters and China Open means too often last season he was the bridesmaid instead of the bride. That needs to change.

While a careful climb up the snooker pecking order means success now, when he hangs up his cue at the end of his career, he will ultimately be judged by the size of his trophy cabinet.

Right now, that cupboard is far too bare for a player of his stature in the sport. 

Selby’s all-round game is naturally very well equipped to win trophies, which leaves many people questioning why he doesn’t have more to show for it already. 

In brief, he’s actually been very unlucky. Selby has a habit of coming up against some of the best individual performances when he makes a final. 

That can’t go on forever, surely. I think we’ll see him turn a corner over the course of the rest of the campaign and start picking up top prize more regularly.

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