After their first eight frames there is nothing to choose between today’s finalists as Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Selby are locked at 4-4 going into tonight…
Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-4 Mark Selby
In frame one the first few chances fell to Mark but he struggled to take full advantage and O’Sullivan only needed the one chance, making a break of 68 to take the lead. Selby again had a couple of chances in the second frame but some loose shots let the world number one in again and the lead soon doubled.
At this point Mark could have been forgiven for fearing another battering like in their recent Premier League final, but he soon made a statement of his own with an important break of 82 to keep him in the match in frame three. O’Sullivan though responded by winning a short safety exchange and punishing Selby with a century to lead 3-1 at the interval.
After the break things turned around completely however as Selby showed just why he is the defending champion here at Wembley. In a series of frames which went down to the colours, he crucially knocked in an amazing brown, cushion first to set up a clearance which would keep him in the match at 3-2. Breaks of 76 and 50 soon followed and though he seemed to be almost trying to throw away frame seven by going in-off having just potted frame ball, he eventually mopped up to lead for the first time at 4-3.
At this stage O’Sullivan was looking like he had slightly lost focus, but having seen Selby knock in what looked like being another frame-winning break of 53, he came back to clear and perhaps crucially send them in level at the interval.
At 3-1 down at the interval had you offered Mark 4-4 going into the evening then I imagine that he would have been delighted, but as it is he will be so frustrated because he really threw away that last frame. Hopefully he can put that out of his mind and we will see a close session tonight, but I just fear for him having not come out of the session with a lead…