Monday, 21 January 2013

Selby crowned Ally Pally Master

Masters champion Mark Selby knows how important it is to get the job done.

His 10-6 victory against Neil Robertson to capture his third Masters crown at the Alexandra Palace was another well-timed performance of a champion.

Selby has now won the two biggest titles of the season so far after his recent UK Championship triumph and can sit proudly as world number one.
Picture by Monique Limbos

The Australian had the edge on form coming into this final but Selby delivered his best performance of the week exactly when it mattered.

For all of Selby's critics, this is the kind of thing true winners do.

You may have forgiven Selby for arriving at the final with little steam left for the final push, but he brushed aside the battle wounds of a difficult tournament to come back fresh, make life difficult for Robertson and once again, land the final killer punch.

You are never in for an easy match against Robertson. Selby found a display that many believed he wouldn't be able to muster after being dead on his feet against Graeme Dott a day earlier.

He might not be playing his very best snooker but he is finding a way of winning titles.

His performance was intelligently controlled and clinical at the right times.

It will make a nice change for Selby to have not relied on a comeback to secure silverware. He got himself ahead, and protected it until he was over the line. We know what he can do from behind but this was an excellent showcase of front running. He kept his nose in front and also managed to shoot down a spirited revival when Robertson won three straight frames to close from 8-3 down to just 8-6.

Winning a title as big as the Masters is always special, but there is even greater glory for Selby to enjoy this time.

He is now one of only six players to have won the Masters three times. He joins a star-studded crowd including Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Ronnie O'Sullivan, Cliff Thorburn and Paul Hunter. 

He also has the chance to join an even smaller, more elite group.

Selby has won the UK Championship and Masters titles in a matter of weeks. If he was to go on to win the World Championship in May, he would rank alongside Hendry, Davis and Mark Williams as a player to have all three BBC titles inside the same season.

This is a quick turnaround for a player who not too long ago was battling against a nasty neck injury, with his future in the game actually in doubt.

He was a fighter then and he is a fighter now.

Selby stands for many great things in our sport. He is a fantastic professional, a real hard worker and an example of what level of excellence can be achieved through a commitment to maximising your ability.

His fine run of titles hasn't come easy. Right now, he's not only proving he is a match for anyone but that, in fact, he is the man to be beaten.

Well played Mark.

1 comment:

  1. Well done Mark Selby was an awesome performance and so glad he has recovered from his neck injury and shown us what we know he is capable of good too see him play great snooker again.