Selby O'Sullivan
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OTD in Snooker: Mark Selby Beats Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-8 in Wales

On this day in snooker, Mark Selby fought back from the brink of defeat to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-8 in the 2008 Welsh Open final.

Fourteen years ago on February 17, the Jester from Leicester claimed a maiden ranking title at the Newport Centre in Wales.

Just a month before, the Englishman had made a magnificent Masters debut at the Wembley Arena, winning his opening three matches in deciders before a 10-3 triumph against Stephen Lee brought him a first Triple Crown title in London.

Having also reached the final of the World Championship the previous year Selby was beginning to make a name for himself, but success in a ranking event still eluded him.

With confidence now high, the 24 year-old then impressed again at the Welsh Open with victories against Ken Doherty, John Higgins, and Stephen Hendry en route to the final.

In the title decider he encountered the tournament favourite, and it was from this point on when the Selby and O’Sullivan rivalry truly began to gather momentum.

Two months earlier at the UK Championship, O’Sullivan denied Selby a berth in the showpiece final with an astonishing deciding-frame maximum 147 break.

The pair’s clash at the Newport Centre would also last the distance, with Selby fighting back from 8-5 down to force a final-frame shoot out for the £35,000 top prize.

Despite being the underdog, Selby displayed his now trademark master of brinkmanship act and duly took a fourth frame on the bounce for glory.

They were the early blows in what has transpired to rank among one of the sport’s greatest rivalries, with Selby and O’Sullivan facing off on numerous subsequent occasions when silverware has been on the line.

Since winning that day in 2008, Selby has proceeded to collect 20 ranking ranking titles in total and is currently ranked as the world number one.

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