At times, it takes extraordinary skill. At times, it takes sheer brilliance. At times, it takes a stroke of luck. But most of the times, it just takes great determination to get over the line. Being down and out, 10-4 in the final session on Sunday evening, ‘The Jester from Leicester’ Mark Selby staged a tremendous comeback to stun John Higgins, 18-15 to lift the trophy for the third time. The Crucible, famed for its long history of some memorable matches, added another feather to its glorious cap.
Also with this, Mark Selby en route his 3rd World Title, joins an elite list of players, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan to have lifted this coveted title for the third time. Being No 1 for 116 consecutive weeks didn’t seem to matter much as the World No 1 was under the gun straight away by veteran John Higgins, being 10-4 down. But then he proved why’s he rated as one of the most mentally complete players in the world by routing Higgins in the next 12 out of the 14 frames.
Recalling his frame of mind while speaking in the post-match interview with Sky, he said,”Yesterday I’d hit the wall and I had nothing left,” he said. I was 10-4 down and thinking there was no way I was going to come back from that. I said I’d just try to make it respectable. I was thinking I could lose with a session to spare. I tried to get my act together, just tried to find something from within. To get out at 10-7 down it felt like I was in front, to be honest.”
Mark Selby went to hell. But when he came back, he was the King of the Crucible Theatre. John Higgins has played against some of the very best in the world, ranging from the legendary Stephen Hendry to ‘Rocket’ Ronnie O’Sullivan but he rated Mark Selby as one of the most dangerous opponents. “Mark is granite, just granite,” said Higgins, a four-time champion himself. “In the second session I had my chances, I missed a pink into the middle and I could have gone 9-3 ahead. That was a big, big frame. Mark cleared up under extreme pressure. He is a fantastic champion. It has been an unbelievable tournament, I gave everything. I came up short to a great champion. I’m proud of myself but he was too good on the day.”