MARK Selby showed signs he was back to his best after he came back from behind to lift his maiden German Masters title.
The reigning world champion came back from 5-2 down against close friend Shaun Murphy to win his first major of the season and the £60,000 cash prize. The 9-7 victory also ensured he returned to the top of the world rankings – moving back ahead of Neil Robertson.
Since capturing Crucible glory last May, Selby has endured somewhat of a frustrating time of it on the table.
To be fair to him he has had new challenges to deal with since his moment of destiny nine months ago after defeating Ronnie O’Sullivan.. Playing in tournaments as the world champion is a pressure unknown to him and in his personal life he has become a father for the first time – something obviously which can take some getting used to in all elements of life.
But this year’s German Masters has seen Selby find his winning touch once again. And it is not a bad time for him to rediscover the winning feeling with the countdown to his Crucible defence just over two months away.
Tough deciding frame wins over Anthony McGill and Judd Trump proved crucial en-route to his latest success and to comeback against Murphy, arguably in the form of his life, showed that his A game is back for the world to see.
Trailing 5-2 Selby won a crucial final frame in the opening session coming back from 62-8 behind to reduce his deficit to 5-3.
And the evening session saw Selby take that momentum with him as a break of 92 helped him close the gap to 5-4 before he then levelled the scores at 5-5.
Selby then made it four frames on the bounce after a break of 93 moved him back into the lead. The Jester from Leicester then moved 7-5 in front when Murphy missed a tough but manageable red.
Murphy, looking to win his second major title within a month following Masters glory in January, stopped the rot with a break of 80 to close the gap to 7-6 before levelling the scores at 7-7 after an impressive pot on the final black when the cueball was situated within touching distance of the side cushion.
But hopes of Murphy continuing his hot winning streak were dashed by the reigning world champion who won a vital 15th frame to close in on the title.
Selby, as he has done so many times before, dug deep to get his hands on the title as a break of 51 put him in control of the 16th frame.
And when Murphy caught an attempted safety too thick, Selby did the rest to win the German Masters for the first title – going one better when he reached the final four years ago, losing to Mark Williams.