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English Open final: Mark Selby vs Luca Brecel

The English Open final will be contested between Mark Selby and Luca Brecel at the Brentwood Centre on Sunday.

The pair emerged from contrasting semi-finals on Saturday to move within one more win of the £80,000 top prize.

In the first last-four encounter, Selby fought back from 3-1 behind to edge Neil Robertson in a thrilling 6-4 battle.

The latter had appeared imperious before the mid-session interval, but the Jester dug deep in trademark fashion to overturn the deficit with a barrage of big breaks.

It sends Selby through to a first ranking event final since winning the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theatre in 2021.

Last season proved to be a difficult period for the Englishman both on and off the baize, but he has rediscovered a lot of his old form this term.

Selby arguably isn’t firing at full throttle just yet, but he’s getting closer, and capturing the Steve Davis Trophy would do his confidence no harm whatsoever.

The 39 year-old is featuring in a second English Open final, having already captured glory in the 2019 edition of the Home Nations tournament.

Brecel, meanwhile, had a surprisingly comfortable time of it in his evening encounter with player of the season Mark Allen.

The Belgian Bullet made a flurry of helpful contributions to orchestrate an unlikely 5-0 advantage.

Although Allen avoided the whitewash with a late rally, Brecel managed to safely get over the winning line in the eighth frame.

The 27 year-old is on course to claim a second ranking title of the campaign to add to his earlier success at the Championship League during the summer.

Indeed, it’s been a terrific twelve or so months for Brecel, who around this time last year also reached the final of the UK Championship before triumphing in the Scottish Open.

Brecel has only beaten Selby three times from ten previous meetings in all competitions, suffering five reverses in a row.

However, it’ll be the first time that they will have clashed over two sessions or at the business stage of proceedings.

With 20 ranking titles and many other achievements already in his locker, that ought to make Selby the favourite.

But Brecel has proven with his victories over Allen and Judd Trump that he’s in good form this week with his career on an upward curve.

One peripheral point regarding this English Open final is that it clashes with the World Cup final at 3pm (GMT) in Qatar.

Many people already thought it was strange to schedule an event at this time, but WST did shift the UK Championship to accommodate this issue so a perfect solution was always going to be tricky.

What could have been done, though, is an earlier start time instead of the usual 1pm commencement for the first session.

Unless there’s a miraculously fast opening bout of play, viewers will definitely have to choose between the football and the snooker.

It seems a little pointless for this to happen when a start time of 12pm or even 11am for just one ranking final could have solved the issue.

The PDC World Darts Championship has taken this approach, starting the afternoon sessions earlier and the evening sessions later than normal this weekend at Ally Pally.

For Selby and Brecel themselves, at least they won’t have to worry about missing out on watching England and Belgium, given their respective nation’s premature World Cup demises.


Live coverage is on Eurosport and discovery+, with information on other available options by clicking here.

Featured photo credit: WST

3 Comments

  1. Although we fared a lot better than Belgium!

  2. I agree that the start time is a little silly given the darts thought it sensible not to clash with the biggest game in sport. I will be watching the football at 3 without question.

    Selby is in his 31st ranking final. Brecel appearing in his sixth.

  3. Brecel had won their biggest meeting previously, 2017 Champion of Champions semi.

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