Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy will contest the German Masters final today in Berlin.
It’s fitting that arguably the tournament of the season so far will come to a climax featuring the current world and Masters champions.
Murphy at times looked supreme during his hard-fought 6-4 victory over Liang Wenbo on Saturday, knocking in a brace of 140-plus total clearances.
His fellow Englishman had a much easier time of it in his last four clash with Stephen Maguire, who failed to produce the goods again in the business end of a big event.
Selby came through a 6-2 winner and would have been relieved to have had an easier time of it following his two 5-4 tussles earlier in the week.
The ‘Jester’ had arrived in German on empty, having travelled late from China after reaching the final of their pool discipline’s World Championship.
Selby had struggled for most of the campaign since his maiden Crucible conquering so it is a tad surprising that he has fared so well despite his low energy levels.
That said, the 31 year-old has made a habit of producing in the face of adversity throughout his career so perhaps it shouldn’t be all that shocking after all.
Murphy, meanwhile, has begun to look increasingly like a competitor who boasts the complete package as his confidence continues to rise.
Since this very weekend in 2014, the ‘Magician’ has conjured up successes in the Gdynia, World, Bulgarian and Ruhr Opens, as well as obviously the recent Masters at the Alexandra Palace in London.
The 32 year-old’s temperament appears unbreakable at the moment, highlighted by how he didn’t let the concession of four consecutive frames in each of his last three ties overwhelm his trust in his own ability to win.
Indeed, Selby possesses a very similar trait so we could be in for a clash that will ebb one way and then the other.
The duo, who grew up together in the juniors and have remained close friends ever since, have a head-to-head record that underlines that possibility as in ten previous ranking event encounters they have shared five victories apiece.
In addition, Murphy and Selby have met in two major finals – at the World Open last year where Murphy won 10-6, and in the 2012 UK Championship when Selby prevailed by the same scoreline.
The final on Sunday will be played over the best-of-17 frames so at the very least there’ll be no repeat there.
The German Masters has been a terrific addition to the calendar and this week’s play has done it justice and more.
The spectacular Tempodrom arena will be packed with 2,500 snooker enthusiasts who will provide an electric atmosphere in which any player would dream of competing under.
Simply due to his overall consistency in the last few months, Murphy must start as the marginal favourite and I ultimately think he’ll be the one lifting the trophy tonight but let’s hope that both players can produce a finale that this superb event truly merits.
The final is at 1pm and 7pm GMT and will be live on Eurosport.
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