Selby dispatches Ding to clinch 2016 World Snooker Championship crown
Lee Gormley | May 2, 2016
Mark Selby 18-14 Ding Junhui
- Mark Selby sailed to an early 6-0 lead in opening session
- Ding Junhui battled back to end Sunday just 10-7 behind
- Selby had lead cut to 11-10 at the first mid-session interval on Monday
- World number one held 14-11 gap going into evening’s play
- Selby reigns supreme for a second time in Sheffield
Selby secures second world title
World number one Mark Selby clinched his second Crucible crown by beating China’s Ding Junhui 18-14 in the 2016 World Snooker Championship final, adding to his 2014 victory in Sheffield.
On the same night that Leicester City secured a historic Premier League title triumph, the Foxes-supporting potter held off a defiant comeback from Ding to become a multiple world champion on Yorkshire soil.
Selby was never behind in a high standard final encounter, as he withstood a gallant fightback from China’s unlucky snooker star, who knocked in an impressive 15 centuries this campaign, to lift the famous trophy once again.
Selby starts Sunday swiftly
The Jester from Leicester took advantage of a nervous start from his opponent in the opening session on Sunday, as he sailed to a comfortable 6-0 lead, before Ding pulled two frames back to give finally get himself going.
China’s snooker superstar rattled in breaks of 103, 89 and 86 in the second session, as well as winning a 66-minute 15th frame to continue his surge back. Though Selby ended Sunday with the momentum as he secured the final two frames, including a 45-minute tactical final one at the Crucible, with play ending after midnight.
The 2014 champion had come through the longest frame ever in Crucible history during his semi-final clash against Hong Kong cueist Marco Fu, while Ding had to overcome a defiant Alan McManus to become the first Asian potter to reach a World Championship final.
Such a gruelling semi-final encounter had clearly taken its toll on the world number one, having been pictured with his eyes closed during the latter stages of Sunday’s night session, but he managed to end on a high and take a strong 10-7 lead into Monday.
Ding battles back
Before this year’s tournament, three of the last five world champions had fought back from an overnight deficit to clinch the world title, and it was a record that Ding was looking increasingly likely of emulating.
Selby’s lead from Sunday soon evaporated in Monday’s first session, as Ding fired in a clinical century break to take the opening frame, before edging a tactical second on the black, as he looked the more fresher finalist.
The Leicester break builder halted Ding’s revival though by knocking in a brilliant break of 126, adding his second century of the final to reinstate a two-frame lead of 11-9. But the Chinese competitor instantly hit back with his own magnificent century, being forced to take a blue after seven reds and as many blacks during the break, to make sure things stood at 11-10 during the mid-session interval.
Selby grinding out frames
After rallying back to within touching distance of the world number one, Ding soon found himself having to play catch-up again, as Selby took a three-frame advantage at 13-10, thanks to tidy 52 and 68 breaks, while he was forced to comically use two cue extensions during proceedings.
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker1) May 2, 2016
The final front runner was left fuming in the 24th frame, as he missed a pink to the right middle due to a horrendous kick after getting his chance through a great safety shot. Selby swung his cue in anger following the unfortunate shot, as Ding capitalised to narrow the gap to two frames.
Although he soon got over his annoyance and, despite seemingly handing Ding the frame when leaving a red hanging over the middle pocket, he eventually ground out victory to hold a promising 14-11 lead going into the evening session.
Jester edging closer to win
Selby took to the baize in the second last session needing just four frames to become a multiple world champion, with Ding entering as the 7/2 underdog to make a gallant comeback and prevail, though he was instantly pegged back further.
The Chinese cueist missed a dangerous long red to let Selby in and make a break of 57, then he failed to capitalise when his opponent broke down, as the world number one held his nerve when returning to the table to open up an encouraging four-frame advantage at 15-11.
Ding was under extreme pressure at this stage but he gained a chance to hit back when Selby left him on after a poor long pot attempt, as the world number 17 knocked in a 60 break before running out of position on the penultimate red.
Selby was able to knock in a red with a wonderful cross double off a supposed safety shot from Ding, and subsequently cleared the stationary colours, including an incredible final black with the rest, to go within two frames of victory.
Winning line seemingly in sight
A clever safety near the black ball forced Selby into leaving a possible red to the right middle in the 27th frame, and Ding obliged despite a frightening kick, before ultimately knocking in a sublime 73 break under immense pressure to claw back.
Ding found himself with another opportunity to close the gap in the next frame though, after finding a plant within the cluster of reds, as he forced it in with power to edge 28 points ahead before playing a safety towards the baulk cushion.
Selby opted for a long-range pot on one of two available reds, but the Leicester cueist left it dangling over the right black pocket, as Ding thumped it in with a distant plant then later proceeded to clinch a vital frame and keep himself in the running before an interval.
Century machine Ding surges back
Going into the home straight after a mid-session break, the trailing Chinese potter continued his surging revival by dispatching a lovely ton break, going one shy of the single Crucible campaign record of 16 set by the legendary Stephen Hendry.
Tension was building in the Crucible at this latter stage of proceedings and Selby potted his first ball for over an hour in the 30th frame, but soon let his break collapse to let Ding back at the table.
Following one of the less freeflowing frames in this enthralling final, it was Selby who eventually prevailed to go one more away from a second Crucible crown, before becoming a 13th multiple world champion on a superb night for the world number one.