Selby wins UK title and returns to top of rankings
The final of the UK Championship in York stretched beyond midnight, but Mark Selby stayed alert and edged out Shaun Murphy by ten frames to six. In the process he reclaimed his world number one spot ahead of Judd Trump.
It wasn’t a thrilling final, more a test of nerves, with neither player managing a century break. By the evening mid-session interval, the score was tied at six frames each, but Murphy proved the more vulnerable in the gruelling late session. Selby reeled off four successive frames, with Murphy losing position when he had a chance to win the final frame.
Despite his "Jester from Leicester" nickname, Selby lacks the charisma of Ronnie O’Sullivan or Trump, but does have formidable powers of concentration. "I am over the moon and it means a great deal," he told the BBC. "It makes it even more special to beat someone of Shaun's class. It was a strange game; it was not pretty. I was twitching all over the place. I never really give in until the last ball is potted and that is me all over. If I was not like that, I would not have got to the final."
In his previous stint as world number one, Selby failed to win a major tournament, causing a few sceptics to raise doubts about his ability to cope with intense pressure. Murphy wasn’t one of the doubters. "Mark is the hardest player on tour by a mile," Murphy said. "He is a worthy world number one and fully deserves tonight."
Selby has been a consistent name at the top of the rankings and had won two Masters titles, but the high profile UK Championship and World Championship had proved disappointments in the past. With a UK title secured, Selby can look forward to a concerted attempt to win his first World Championship in the spring.