Super Selby wins Paul Hunter Classic

Mark Selby seems to like playing in Germany as seven months on from reaching the final of the German Masters in Berlin he has now won the 2011 edition of the Paul Hunter Classic in Furth with a 4-0 victory against Mark Davis. Click below to read how…

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Mark Selby has lost his fair share of finals in recent seasons but today he made no mistake with a 4-0 victory against Mark Davis to win the PTC4 event in Germany.

The opening frame saw chances fall to both players, Selby making an initial 47 before breaking down, only for Davis to miss on the pink when attempting to counter allowing Selby back to take a 1-0 lead. It was to be the second frame that would prove crucial however as Selby managed to snatch it despite having at one point trailed by 70 points.

Indeed the early running in the frame was made by Davis as he laid an excellent snooker tight behind the yellow from which Selby would eventually leave him in, though not before giving away a substantial amount of penalty points. With a 70 point lead though a dangerous attempt at a plant would prove costly as with 83 remaining there was more than enough on for Selby to clear and snatch the frame by three points.

As you might expect, from there Davis wilted somewhat and with a top break of 99 Selby closed out the next two frames, finishing with a pot success rate of 93% compared to just 79% for his opponent.

For Selby it is an excellent result which not only represents his first success in any ranking event tournament (minor or otherwise), since the PTC2 event last season, but also consolidates his position as the provisional world number one on my projected seedings list. He also moves up to second place in the PTC Order of Merit.

Can Mark now turn his proven consistency into major titles? I see no reason why not as he has both the scoring power and the tactical brain to do so but time will tell. I suspect however that this will not be the last time that we see Selby holding aloft a trophy this season.

As for Davis it was something of a final to forget but that should not detract from what has been a fantastic week for a player who now rises to 15th place in my latest projected list. While there are three events still to go before the season’s first seedings revision he has now given himself a genuine chance of being in the all-important top 16 places at the time and securing a place at the Masters.

Looking back through the day’s action, having seen a number of young players come through during the previous couple of days this morning proved to be a victory for experience as the likes of Michael White, Jamie Jones and Li Yan exited the tournament. Maximum man Ronnie O’Sullivan was to prove Li’s conqueror, though not without a tough battle as Li held his own through the first four frames.

Ronnie was again to be tested in the quarter-finals as having stormed into a 3-0 lead against another Chinese youngster, this time Yu Delu, he was eventually taken to a deciding frame before coming through the match a 4-3 winner. Elsewhere Mark Selby recovered from dropping the opening frame against Stephen Lee before winning the next four frames to win 4-1 while Mark Davis recorded a tremendous 4-0 victory against the ever-determined Irishman Fergal O’Brien.

In the semi-finals Mark would play Neil Robertson, the 2010 world champion enjoying probably his strongest run at a PTC event to date and quickly moved into a surprise 2-0 lead. The match looked like it might turn on its head in the next frame as Neil forced two fouls before winning on a re-spotted black to get himself back into the match but to his credit Davis immediately restored his two-frame advantage before eventually winning 4-2.

In the other semi-final the early running was made by Ronnie O’Sullivan as he moved one away from a final spot by forging a 3-1 lead, but not for the first time against O’Sullivan we were to see a Selby come back as the eventual winner won three in a row to book his place in the final.

All in all then another excellent, well-supported event in Germany which as other have said, felt more like a full ranking event than a PTC, indeed contrast the crowd tonight with the one man and his dog set-up seen at the Academy in Sheffield. Once again it demonstrates the thirst for competitive snooker over in mainland Europe and certainly helps to build the anticipation ahead of the German Masters later in the season.

Next stop the Premier League on Thursday night before the biggest event of the season so far, the Shanghai Masters, gets underway…