Super Selby Stuns O'Sullivan!

Incredible. Mark Selby has produced the performance of his life to recover from 9-6 down against Ronnie O’Sullivan to win the 2010 Wembley Masters 10-9. Click below to read my frame by frame commentary…

Unsurprisingly there appears to be a good crowd in today and as if often the case they are largely behind their man Ronnie O’Sullivan, though Mark Selby will be used to that from last year. I expect Ronnie to win today, 10-6 or 10-7 perhaps but you never quite know how he is going to play…

First chance goes to O’Sullivan following a missed long-range effort from Selby, but he breaks down on 35 and following a foul shot leaves Selby a chance to counter. The reds are quite nicely spread but in the main appear to be covering each other and will require some precise positional play…and he does indeed run out of position on 25.

The BBC showing their respective tournament pot success and safety success rates, neither are brilliant for either player which probably reflects the fact that while they have played well, they have not been at their absolute best so far this week. Still time for that to change however…

Mark Selby has won the subsequent safety exchange but his positional play is erratic to say the least and he has run out of position on 15, though he has left Ronnie behind the black and in a difficult snooker…and he could not get it safe, leaving Mark Selby in to clear to the black and take a 1-0 lead. A quiet start but that is to be expected with the stakes so high…

The quiet start continues in frame two though eventually it is Mark’s safety that lets him down as he gives O’Sullivan a good chance to score, though with pink and black awkward it is not straightforward…and he fails to get on the black correctly, missing it and handing the chance back to Selby…but he cannot make the most of it and lets his opponent off the hook.

Mark goes in-off and Ronnie knocks in a long red to give himself a chance to take the frame, Mark could really be regretting not making his earlier chance count soon…

Like last year it is quite noticeable that Mark is not laughing and joking with Ronnie as much as he might with other players such as Mark Allen and Ding Junhui earlier in the week. Relations don’t appear to have improved greatly since the 2008 Welsh Open final!

Barring snookers O’Sullivan has levelled the match at 1-1 and Mark will be kicking himself. Interestingly Mark got the snooker, but immediately left Ronnie a red from distance which he knocked into the heart of the pocket to end any doubt.

Another mistake from Selby gives Ronnie a chance in frame three and having split the reds perfectly, has immediately given himself a chance to take the frame and perhaps record the first century break of the final…not quite, but 86 is enough to make it 2-1. Big frame already coming up for Mark…

And he cannot respond, Ronnie knocking in a break of 122 to lead 3-1 at the interval. Mark will still be kicking himself after that second frame.

4-1 now following a second straight ton from O’Sullivan, though Selby has responded well to get one back and make it 4-2. Selby needs to get out of this no worse than 5-3 down to have a hope tonight I think…

Excellent response from Mark now, his first century bringing him back to within a frame of O’Sullivan with one more frame to play this afternoon. Would love to see this go 4-4 to keep things really interesting tonight…

A tactical start to a potentially crucial frame here. With the reds spread far and wide, the first mistake should be costly…a brilliant mid-frame break from O’Sullivan proves to be enough as Selby misses a yellow from distance. That’s the end of the session and at 5-3 Mark is still in there fighting, but he needs to start well tonight…

Evening Session

So we are underway in front of a wild Wembley crowd and I would suggest that this is a must win frame for Mark Selby as I would not fancy his chances from 6-3 down…

And without making any huge breaks he has won it, game on!

First chance to O’Sullivan in frame ten but having run out of position he gave Mark an excellent opportunity to take his second consecutive frame and level the match for the first time since 1-1. Unfortunately for the world number 7 however he missed a relatively simple red into a corner and O’Sullivan punished him once again in this match. 6-4…

Yet another poor break-off today, this time from O’Sullivan has brought a red over the left-centre pocket and given Mark a chance to get some points on the board…and he has certainly done that with another century break. Very impressive given his error in the last frame. Every time you think he might fall away, he hits back…

95% pot success for O’Sullivan to Selby’s 93%, top standard.

Another key frame before the interval begins with a re-rack, but the first big chance when they resume falls to Mark Selby. Having played some excellent shots however he has had a very springy bounce off a cushion and not landed on the intended pink. Still anybody’s frame…

A phenomenal red to the left-centre from O’Sullivan looks to have given it to O’Sullivan however who barring a disaster should now lead 7-5. Shot of the match without a doubt…unfortunately for him however he cannot get on the final red, though with an excellent safety he has left Mark in all sorts of trouble, tight on the green.

Having escaped that snooker however, another one following a missed red from O’Sullivan has proved to be decisive in this frame and ensured that Mark remains two frames behind in this match. That little bit of fortune could make all the difference…

Despite leading the match almost throughout, Ronnie’s break-off shots have not been great today and again he has handed Mark the first chance in this frame…which he has taken brilliantly. Back to within a frame again, can he finally level now? No is the answer as the defending champion takes the frame in two scoring visits. He had a chance of a 147 there before running out of position on 41.

Could this be the frame where Ronnie pulls away? A poor attempt at a red followed by a very poor safety shot again from Selby leaving him in. Safety success rates of 70% and 75% for the two of them, not the best but both have been excellent with their long potting so far in this match.

And that safety error does indeed prove costly as Ronnie takes the frame with 91 to move just one away from the title at 9-6…

Fair play to Mark Selby, he needed a couple of chances and at one point looked down and out, but he has done enough to take the frame and keep his hopes alive at 9-7. Moment of truth now to see whether my 10-7 prediction will prove accurate!

The start to frame 17 has been very tactical indeed but eventually it is Mark who has been able to create the first opportunity and given himself a chance to build up a lead. With the reds very awkward and pink and black tied up however, he will do well to get more than 30 I think…and he does very well indeed to somehow make his third century break of the match. The best break of the week that I have seen, incredible where the balls were situated when he took to the table! Back at 9-8 and he is right in it…

Is the pressure beginning to shift back onto Mark? A very twitchy shot leaving Ronnie in but he can only make seven as we are left with another safety exchange…

This is unbelievable, Mark looks like forcing a decider, the break up to 38…but we have a twist as he has missed a straightforward red just seconds later and now Ronnie is in with a chance to get right back into it. Mark looks gutted.

He has run out of position but Mark is under the cosh following a brilliant snooker from Ronnie which has snookered Mark with the angle. He hits it at the third attempt but has left it on to the left-centre…having done all the hard work Ronnie has missed the yellow! But having done so he has fluked a snooker, this could not get any more dramatic at the moment.

Wow. Just wow. An incredible series of events as Ronnie snookers Mark, leaving him with almost an impossible shot and though he got out of it, he did leave the yellow just about on. Ronnie having potted it was not perfect on the green and played a very strange shot into a blind pocket, left handed with lots of side and missed it by a long way. Selby duly cleared the table and we have a deciding frame. Whatever happens this has been a brilliant comeback from Mark.

So we are into a 19th frame and as has happened almost every time he has broken off today, Ronnie has left a red on and Mark has knocked it in to give himself the first chance…and he now leads by 64 with 67 on before missing the match-ball red. Could we have another twist? No! Mark has doubled the red to complete an unlikely comeback!

He did it in the Welsh Open final two years ago and he has now done it again, Mark Selby has produced a sensational comeback to defeat Ronnie O’Sullivan from three frames behind with four to play and after a tough year or so will surely head into the upcoming tournaments full of confidence.

I rate Mark very highly as a player but in all honesty did not think that he would be able to produce a performance like that against Ronnie from 9-6 down. His temperament was rock solid and though he did twitch at a red in the penultimate frame, Ronnie could not finish him off.

With this match and yesterday’s semi-final between O’Sullivan and Mark Williams we have seen two of the matches of the decade in the first month of it!

  • Monique

    Mark deserves all credit for the way he fought back and held his nerves to clinch victory. Well done Mark. Very well done indeed.

  • Cloudy

    A fitting climax to one of the most enjoyable weeks of snooker I have ever witnessed. Looks like Selby is back in a big way.

  • http://snooker147blog.com Ander Isuskiza

    Great coverage, you are a Master too!

  • Bryan
  • matt2745

    Which bits, Hearn’s idea? Not realy for me to be honest but if it brings in money and fans then it’s all good.

  • http://snookersceney.blogspot.com/ Sammy@SnookerSceney

    Looks like my prediction came true eh?

  • matt2745

    Fair play 😀

    Never expected that from Selby to be honest.

  • Witz78

    Amazing match and comeback. Ronnie terrible break off shots ultimately cost him a relatively easy win.
    My only complaint on the article here would be that theres more than a subtle whiff of bias and anti-O’Sullivan vibes!
    I like this site however and prefer it to some of the more well known snooker blog sites.

  • matt2745

    I can’t deny that I wanted Selby to win, although typing live at the time I’d have been carried away whoever was playing.

    I was delighted to see someone other than Higgins actually pull off a comeback like that and not only get back into it, but go on to win it.

  • Bryan

    Ya this grim reaper idea. I think its plain daft, unless done on a kind of big break like show. But as you said, if he can make money

  • matt2745

    Basically my attitude to Hearn is that on the whole I think almost everything that he bring in will be to the benefit of snooker as a whole, but I can imagine a lot of his shorter format ideas etc being unappealing to me. To be fair just like 6-reds which isn’t a Hearn innovation by any stretch.

    If those moves bring in more fans and give the players more opportunity so that the more traditional events can thrive/survive however then it’s all good. I can just watch the ones that do interest me.

    I love snooker but that doesn’t mean that I have to love it however it is served up for me…