IF YOU ever needed evidence that Mark Selby is ready for the defence of his World Championship title, then this was it.
The Jester from Leicester cruised to his first China Open crown in his career with a superb 10-2 win over Gary Wilson in the final – earning him his second major title of the season following his German Masters success in February.
It seems a long time ago now, back at the start of the year, that there were questions raised whether Selby’s World Championship win twelve months ago was getting to him but all that has changed now.
Not only as he had to get used to life as the defending the world champion but he has also had to get used to fatherhood for the first time with the arrival of his new daughter Sofia. But like anything things settle down and now we are seeing Selby back to his best.
Of course winning the China Open doesn’t mean guaranteed success at the Crucible in the weeks to come – last year’s winner Ding Junhui suffered a shock first round exit last year despite winning five major ranking titles earlier in the season.
But success in Beijing can provide the momentum needed to
Selby dominated this China Open final throughout against an opponent who may have felt the full effects after his best week ever in the game. No doubt about it Gary Wilson can take great heart from what he has achieved this week but the facts are the tournament’s best player lifted the title this week.
The world number one dominated the opening proceedings winning the first three frames as Wilson, who reached the final after beating defending champion Ding Junhui in the semi-finals. struggled to settle in his biggest career match to date.
It was not until the fourth frame when Wilson began to show his best form as a break of 91 reduced his arrears to 3-1 at the mid-session interval.
But for Wilson that was to be his only joy for the remainder of the session as Selby won the remaining four frames , including making the tournament’s highest break of 145, to take a massive 8-1 lead going into the evening’s session.
Any hopes of a Wilson fightback were put to the sword as Selby hit a 136 to go further clear before Wilson showed brilliant determination to hit another century. Victory was complete though in the next frame as Selby recorded the highest margin of victory in a China Open final.