Mark Selby came from 3-1 down to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-3 in a dramatic final at the Antwerp Open European Tour event in Belgium.
A cool clearance in the deciding frame gave Selby his first title of the season and the 25,000 Euro top prize. The world number two from Leicester looks to be coming into form at the right time with the defence of his williamhill.com UK Championship title to start later this month.
Watched by an enthusiastic crowd of 1,200 at the Lotto Arena, O’Sullivan won the opening frame with a break of 74. The second came down to the colours and Selby took it with a long pot on the blue.
O’Sullivan regained the lead with a run of 54, then stole frame four with a fine clearance from the penultimate red to go 3-1 ahead. Selby dominated the next with 52 and 61, then made a superb 126 for 3-3.
World Champion O’Sullivan had the first clear chance in the decider but surprisingly missed a black off its spot at 36-0. That proved his last shot as Selby’s 77 gave him the title.
“Any time you play Ronnie you have to be on your game,” said Selby. “From 3-1 down I played really well. I never give up but I didn’t expect to get another chance in the decider.”
O’Sullivan said: “I never like losing but it is part of sport. There are a lot more tournaments coming up and I hope I’ll get a victory soon. I’m just enjoying being involved in big games and competing against top players.”
The European Tour comprises eight events, with the top 24 on the final Order of Merit to qualify for the Grand Finals next March, to be joined by eight more players from the Asian Tour Order of Merit. The next event is the Gdynia Open in Poland from February 6 to 9.
Results (last 16 onwards)
Jack Lisowski 4-3 Ryan Day
Mark Williams 2-4 Aditya Mehta
Tony Drago 1-4 Mark Selby
Ding Junhui 4-2 Marco Fu
Joel Walker 4-1 Kurt Maflin
Stuart Bingham 3-4 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Sam Baird 1-4 Ben Woollaston
Joe Perry 4-1 Mark Allen
Perry 0-4 O’Sullivan
Woollaston 4-3 Walker
Selby 4-1 Ding
Mehta 0-4 Lisowski
Lisowski 2-4 Selby
Woollaston 2-4 O’Sullivan
Selby 4-3 O’Sullivan