Selby Edges O’Sullivan in Antwerp Win

Mark Selby came from 3-1 behind to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-1 and win the Antwerp Open in Belgium.

The former world no.1 was in good form throughout the weekend but arguably saved his best for last as he overcame an in-form ‘Rocket’.

It looked like the world champion was heading for his second European Tour event of the season when he opened up a two frame cushion to move within one frame of glory.
However, as has so often been the case in their meetings in the past, Selby was able to gather momentum late in the game to orchestrate an unlikely comeback and prevail in the decider.

In the past, defensive tactics have been the backbone of Selby’s successes over O’Sullivan but this time the ‘Jester from Leicester’ used his other powerful attribute – his scoring prowess.

From 3-1 down, Selby, who will be defending his UK and Masters crowns in the next couple of months, knocked in breaks of 52, 61, 126 and 77 to complete the turnaround.

It will come as some relief to the 30 year-old, who has endured a quiet enough season by his standards.

Not only did he defeat O’Sullivan in the final, but he also recorded excellent victories over Judd Trump, who had compiled a 147 break, and Ding Junhui before a 4-2 triumph over Jack Lisowski in the semi-final.

On that note, it was good to see Lisowski return to some form and continue what has been a productive couple of months for players aged in their 20s.

Lisowski has fallen foul of inconcistency so far during his career but he is still slowly but surely progressing and gaining places in the rankings list season by season.

The time will soon come for him to be involved in the business end of tournaments more often but, as we saw with his friend Trump in 2011, once that step is made the gears can be shifted through at a ferocious pace.

In the second semi-final, O’Sullivan saw off former PTC winner Ben Woollaston while Mark Allen, who was bidding for a hat-trick of titles on the satellite series, was defeated in the fourth round by Joe Perry.

Once again, for a third straight year the crowds in Antwerp were fantastic, enthuastically but respectfully cheering on the competitors as they produced another high-quality tournament – epitomised by the final itself.

It’s the second time O’Sullivan has lost in a decider in the event having been lost to Trump in another humdinger two years ago.

It marks the conclusion of seven out of the eight events that make up the European tour this season and a lot of the big names have already assured their place in the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals in March.

Ali Carter, Graeme Dott and Matthew Stevens are the biggest faces so far out of the running and therefore will be looking for a big finish at the Gdynia Open in Poland next February.

The announcement as to where the Grand Finals will be staged this season has yet to be made but after three pretty successful years in Ireland – the last two of which were in Galway – it is hoped that the sport’s stars will return to those shores once again.

As ever, we’ll keep you posted if and when we hear anything.

Next stop is the inaugural Champion of Champions event, which gets under way tomorrow in Coventry.

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