The pair will battle for the £70,000 top prize and the Stephen Hendry Trophy.
Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Selby will renew their rivalry on Sunday when they clash in a fascinating Scottish Open final in Milton Keynes.
The Englishmen share a long history of famous battles with one another, and this encounter marks their first meeting since their epic World Championship semi-final in August.
On that occasion, O’Sullivan memorably fought back from 16-14 behind to prevail in a decider, and there’s every chance that their latest affair could be just as tight.
The “Rocket” was similarly forced to retrieve a large deficit in Saturday’s semi-final, clawing his way back from 4-1 behind against Li Hang with the help of a succession of telling clearances to win 6-4.
Selby, who is bidding to defend this week’s title, produced a much more clinical display and overpowered Jamie Jones 6-1 thanks to a mid-match burst of three century breaks.
It will be intriguing to see whether Sunday’s Scottish Open final will follow a pattern of heavy scoring, or revert to a cagey affair between two seasoned warhorses that won’t want to give the other any major advantage.
Much has already been written about O’Sullivan and Selby’s rivalry, which has generally been based on a mutual respect of one another but has sometimes simmered to the cusp of boiling point.
O’Sullivan infamously once labeled Selby as the “Torturer” for his tactical style of play, while the latter didn’t take defeat to O’Sullivan well at the Crucible this year – branding his fellow Englishman as “disrespectful”.
The duo first faced off in a final almost thirteen years ago at the 2008 Welsh Open, and even then there was tension-filled drama.
On that occasion, Selby produced one of the first of many brinkmanship acts that would become his trademark when he fought back from 8-5 behind to win 9-8 and claim a maiden ranking event crown.
The “Jester” has, in fact, won five out of their eight finals – including title deciders in each of the World Championship, Masters, and UK Championship.
O’Sullivan, however, does boast a superior head-to-head record overall and perhaps has the mental edge after that gripping recent duel in Sheffield.
If the 45 year-old triumphs it would be a record-extending 38th career ranking title, while victory for Selby would represent his 19th and take him alongside Judd Trump and Neil Robertson into joint-sixth on the all-time list.
Selby amazingly hasn’t lost any of the last ten ranking event finals he has participated in, dating back to the 2016 Shanghai Masters when he was denied by Ding Junhui.
As with any O’Sullivan versus Selby showdown, it’s a confrontation that’s not to be missed.
Live coverage of the Scottish Open final is available on Quest TV, Eurosport, and via various other broadcasting options around the world.
Featured photo credit: WST