Mark Selby won his 16th ranking title with an emphatic 9-1 victory over David Gilbert in the final of the 19.com English Open in Crawley.
Gilbert described his opponent’s performance as a “masterclass” as Selby missed just seven balls in the whole match.
Leicester’s Selby extended his superb recent record in ranking finals as he has now won 13 of his last 14, since the 2014 World Championship.
It’s his first Home Nations title since the series was launched in 2016, and he will head to next month’s 19.com Northern Ireland Open in Belfast as the only man who can win the unique £1 million bonus on offer for capturing all four trophies in the series.
The £70,000 top prize moves him one place up the world rankings to fourth. His total of 16 ranking titles brings him level with Neil Robertson, behind Ronnie O’Sullivan (36), Stephen Hendry (36), John Higgins (30), Steve Davis (28) and Mark Williams (22).
It’s his first ranking title since the 2018 China Championship, some 13 months ago, and first on UK soil since he landed his third World Championship crown in 2017.
Having monopolised the world number one position for 49 months, losing the top dog status was a blow to Selby in March this year. But he has bounced back strongly this season, reaching two semi-finals before this week’s triumph. His performance in today’s final was a reminder of his ability to control matches with superb break-building and near-flawless safety.
Gilbert has now lost all four of his ranking finals, albeit each of them against top class opponents; he was runner-up to John Higgins at the 2015 International Championship, to Mark Williams at the 2018 Yushan World Open, and to Kyren Wilson at the 2019 German Masters.
The £30,000 pay-day takes his career total earnings past the £1 million mark and moves him up one place to 11th in the world. But that will be no more than small consolation to the 38-year-old from Tamworth as he is left waiting for his first taste of silverware.
Selby dominated the first session, taking a 7-1 lead with top breaks of 88, 68, 79, 85, 130 and 97. Gilbert had two chances in the opener tonight but couldn’t make the frame secure. Selby fluked a snooker on the last red, and from the chance that followed, cleared the table for 8-1.
And a few minutes later the contest was over as Selby’s break of 101 sealed the title.