Mark Selby won his first title of the season by beating Martin Gould 4-1 in the final of the Gdynia Open in Poland, the final event of the 2015/16 Kreativ Dental Clinic European Tour series.
Gould had been going for his second title of the month having won the German Masters three weeks ago, but he was outplayed in the final by world number one Selby, who captured the trophy and 25,000 Euro top prize.
Until now it had been a barren campaign for Leicester’s Selby, his best runs taking him to the semi-finals of the International Championship and UK Championship. Today’s victory gives him a shot of confidence going into the crucial last few months of the season.
There was a significant consolation for Gould as his run to the final earned him a place in next month’s Ladbrokes Players Championship.
Londoner Gould won the opening frame of the final before Selby hit back to win four in a row with breaks of 92, 69, 51 and 62.
“It’s nice to get a win under my belt,” said 2014 World Champion Selby. “I rode my luck a bit in this event, I should have lost to Luca Brecel in the last 32 when I was 3-0 down and came back to win 4-3. But it’s rare to have a tournament where you steam-roller everyone, when you win a title you often get through a match you should lose. I will go into the next event with a lot more confidence.”
The tournament was the final qualifying event for both the Ladbrokes World Grand Prix and the Ladbrokes Players Championship, two ranking events to take place in March.
Gould started the event in 73rd place on the Kreativ Dental Clinic European Order of Merit but his final run saw him leap into the top 24 and gain a place at the Ladbrokes Players Championship, which will take place at Event City in Manchester from March 22 to 27.
The line up (subject to entries) will comprise the top 24 from the European Order of Merit, plus two from the Asian Tour and six more from a combination of the two Order of Merits. Matthew Selt was the player squeezed out by Gould.
The Ladbrokes World Grand Prix runs from March 8 to 13 at Venue Cymru in Llandudno. The top 32 players on a ranking list running from the start of the season to the Gdynia Open have qualified. Stephen Maguire clung on to the 32nd and last spot throughout the event in Poland. Andrew Higginson could have knocked him out by winning the tournament but lost 4-2 in the semi-finals to Selby.
The full lists of players who have qualified for each event are below, and the draws will be announced shortly. Tickets for both events are on sale now – for details see www.worldsnooker.com/tickets
Ladbrokes World Grand Prix:
Ladbrokes Players Championship:
The Gdynia Open was also vital for players battling to earn new World Snooker Tour cards if they finish the season outside the top 64 on the main ranking list. Malaysia’s Thor Chuan Leong secured his place with a run to the last 16 while Mitchell Mann, Scott Donaldson and Anthony Hamilton also won vital matches to earn spots in the current list of eight players:
Thor Chuan Leong