Mark Selby emerged victorious in the German Masters final as he came from behind to see off Shaun Murphy in the Berlin final 9-7.
In doing so, the world champion denied Ronnie O’Sullivan the world no.1 position as he himself takes top spot in the rankings once again.
Sunday’s showdown was a typically hard-fought affair that ebbed and flowed one way and then the other, as the packed Tempodrom crowd were treated to a thrilling conclusion to what has been a terrific tournament.
Selby and Murphy’s contest had actually started slowly enough, with the pair missing a flurry of routine shots as they struggled to adapt to the electric conditions.
However, Masters champion Murphy, who perhaps began the tie as the slight favourite given his recent run of form, knocked in a superb 130 total clearance in the fourth frame to level the scores at the mid-session interval and appeared to take control when breaks of 118 and 51 helped him into a 5-2 lead.
The last frame of the first session proved to be a key moment, though, as, 50-odd points behind, Selby dished with a 62 to finish only two frames behind.
Buoyed by this, the ‘Jester’ duly punished missed opportunities from his opponent in the early exchanges of the evening’s bout of play, taking four in a row to reverse his two-frame deficit into a two-frame advantage.
It was the fourth match in a row that Murphy had lost four frames in or more on the trot but on each occasion he responded well and a break of 80 followed by a tight 14th frame brought the scores even to 7-7.
It looked as though we might be heading all the way but the enthusiastic crowd was to be denied a deciding frame climax as Selby pulled away again at the end for glory.
It marks the 31 year-old’s biggest title since he was crowned world champion at the Crucible last May and it will surely give him the belief that he can mount a strong defence in Sheffield.
His triumph this week was made all the more remarkable given his late arrival to Germany on Tuesday as he flew in from China after finishing runner-up in a big eight ball pool tournament in the Far East.
That said, Selby must be getting used to the sleepless nights and weary days following the birth of his first child before Christmas.
His success here will surely mean a lot to him as a new father and it couldn’t have really come at a better place, with 2500 or so snooker enthusiasts living and breathing his every shot.
The German Masters once again delivered a spectacular five days of action, with this edition arguably providing us with the tournament of the season so far.