Finals

Riga Open Success for Selby

Mark Selby walked away with the inaugural Riga Open title on Sunday evening after a fittingly thrilling climax to what was an entertaining event in Latvia.

Allen congratulates Selby after gritty comeback - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

Allen congratulates Selby after gritty comeback – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

The world champion returned after the summer break to collect another trophy in style by coming from 3-0 down to opponent Mark Allen in the final to prevail in a decider 4-3.

Deciders were the order of the weekend as the tournament was littered with last gasp victories in the short best-of-seven format.

This was no more the case than on the final day’s action when almost half of the 15 matches from the last 16 onward went the distance.

Allen himself had come from behind to edge Anthony McGill of Scotland in the semi-final stage and admitted afterward that Selby was possibly the worst competitor to find yourself 3-0 up against.

This may sound like a peculiar statement but begins to make sense when all of Selby’s mammoth comebacks in important ties are taken into account.

The Jester’s triumph earned him his sixth satellite tour silverware since the Players Championship series began began in 2010 – putting him as the most successful player ahead of Judd Trump who has four wins to his credit.

Despite this record, it will be interesting to see how Selby treats these smaller weekend events for the remainder of the season as emerging victorious in eastern Europe has ensured his progress to the Players Championship Grand Finals next year.

There would be scope to suggest that it would be better for the 31 year-old to sit out some of the remaining five European Tour tournaments and concentrate more on adding to his major ranking event tally as the commitments of being the world champion add to an already packed and tiring schedule.

Selby, though, has often been regarded as one of the players who attempts to play in as many events as possible so nothing’s guaranteed.

Elsewhere in Latvia, Sean O’Sullivan’s display in getting to the quarter-finals stood out as the young Englishman attempts to regain his place on the Main Tour after dropping off at the end of last season.

From an Irish point of view, it was good to see all four amateurs who entered – John Sutton, Martin McCrudden, Josh Boileau and TJ Dowling – qualify for the first round proper and hopefully they can build on this by entering the upcoming Paul Hunter Classic in Furth at the end of the month.

Riga was also a major winner, as has so often been the case with these competitions on the continent.

The city was well received by the players while the snooker was enthusiastically enjoyed by the fans in the arena throughout the weekend but especially on Sunday’s final day of action.

Strike another country off the list in the sport’s quest to become global.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.

 

Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.