Mark Selby beats Mark Williams to win Shanghai Masters
Mark Selby fought back to win the Shanghai Masters final against Mark Williams as he clinched three frames in a row to take a thrilling 10-9 victory.
With the score level at 9-9, the Englishman held his nerve for a victory that ensures he takes the world number one ranking from the Welshman.
Selby had held a slender 5-4 advantage after the first session was completed.
The experienced Williams then surged into a 9-7 lead in the evening session before Selby's late heroics.
This was a topsy-turvy contest between snooker's top two players. The major turning point came in the 19th frame when Williams was 9-8 ahead and looking on course to take a 10-9 victory before missing a routine green with the scores at 60-60.
Mark Williams Beaten finalist
“It's not often you win matches 5-0 and I've won two this week so I must have had a lot of luck”
Selby went on to seal that frame and then, in the closing frame of the match, Williams failed to sink a long-range red. That paved the way for Selby to take the trophy.
During the semi-finals, Williams had prevailed in a final-frame decider against Neil Robertson. This time, he was on the receiving end.
While Williams was aiming for his 19th ranking title, Selby had just one to his name - the 2008 Welsh Open - along with four runner-up spots.
It was an engrossing start to the final with the pair equal at 3-3 after the first six frames. Williams made 51 but but was then snookered on the last red. He left a free ball and Selby cleared to take the lead.
The Englishman then went 5-3 up, with a cool 95 in the next frame and looked set to take a three-frame cushion into the evening session but then there was more drama as he missed a simple black on 45 in frame nine. Williams took advantage with a 67 clearance.
The pair traded frames after the resumption, Williams taking the 11th after a re-rack. Selby appeared to be in the driving seat when he went two clear at 7-5, but he was clearly feeling the pressure as errors allowed Williams in to claim the next two frames.
Scoring remained low as Williams won two more to go within one of the title, but Selby pulled one back to keep the match alive. Williams was twice on course to win frame 18, but he missed the final red and then, after getting out of a snooker, the simplest of greens with the score at 60-60 to let Selby back in.
Selby duly cleared to pink to take it into a decider, during which he kept his cool to leave Williams stunned.