Martin Gould has secured his maiden ranking event triumph after beating Luca Brecel in the final of the German Masters in Berlin.
Both players began the encounter in search of their first success in a tournament of this stature and the enormity of the occasion showed as they each initially struggled to cope in the electric Tempodrom atmosphere.
Brecel appeared to settle early on when a break of 68 helped him to the opening frame but the 20 year-old will rue several missed chances in the second and third frame when Gould was really under the cosh.
The Belgian could easily have been 3-0 ahead but somehow found himself 2-1 behind and a timely fluke for Gould in the fourth frame ensured that he took a 3-1 cushion into the afternoon’s mid-session interval.
The players shared the subsequent two frames upon the game’s resumption before the final came alive in the seventh frame with a wonderful and gutsy 59 clearance from Brecel to get back to within one.
Yet, that appeared to spur Gould on and, eager to avoid a repeat of his Australian Open final defeat earlier in the season, the Englishman concluded the session with a 104 to ensure an advantage going into the evening bout of play.
When they returned the Tempodrom was once again packed with 2500 enthusiastic German fans eager to will the players on to a frenetic finish.
Gould appeared a different animal to the timid competitor who began the contest and, potting a succession of outrageous shots, extended his advantage to 7-3 aided by a second successive century of 110.
It looked for all money as though he was going to romp away to glory but an untimely kick put a seed of doubt into the 34 year-old’s mind and a timely run of 55 kept Brecel in it a little longer.
But the youngster, attempting to become the first European outside of the UK and Ireland to win a ranking tournament, couldn’t build on that, allowing Gould off the hook in the next frame as the latter moved to within one of the title.
Gould, who has so often in the past snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in important encounters, lost the 13th frame on the pink but was in no mood to entertain any thoughts of a comeback from his opponent as he sealed his memorable win with a 9-5 victory.
The success is just reward for the Pinner Potter, who has been knocking on the door of the elite for a number of years now.
Ever since he won the English Amateur Championship for a second time in 2007 and regained his place on the Main Tour for a second stint, Gould rapidly moved up the rankings and regularly began to feature in the latter stages of events.
He finished runner-up in the 2011 Players Championship Grand Final in Dublin before he began to collect some trophies with victories in Power Snooker, a PTC, the Shoot-Out and the Championship League.
However, Gould had yet to join the illustrious band of names who had been crowned in a full ranker despite coming agonisingly close in a deciding frame defeat to John Higgins in Bendigo last summer.
A popular player with an entertaining style of a play, Gould’s victory will be well-received by fans and fellow players alike.
For Brecel, it marks another step in the right direction for the budding star but he’ll have to wait a little bit longer for his breakthrough moment.
One suspects that it’s a question of when, though, rather than any degree of if.
An interesting German Masters edition comes to an end then, one which was dominated by unexpected results and seeds bowing out early.
But the atmosphere generated inside the circus-like arena never failed to disappoint, confirming its rightful place as one of the calendar’s favourite destinations.
In Martin Gould, the best player of the tournament prevailed.