Shanghai Masters 2011 - Selby champion in Shanghai

01:43:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Mark Selby, the 2011 Shanghai Masters champion
Mark Selby defeated the Welshman Mark Williams 10-9 to become this year's Shanghai Masters champion. With a great run that saw names like Nigel Bond, Jamie Cope, Shaun Murphy and Mark King being put down, "The Jester from Leicester" proudly received the shiny trophy along with the title of becoming the brand new world's number one.

Selby started full of hope the Chinese snooker journey, winning the 2011 Wuxi Classic and the recent Paul Hunter Classic (aka. PTC 4) being reason enough not to doubt his capability of resisting all the way to the grand final.
First, he encountered a pretty tricky opponent -Nigel Bond - in what was a typical clash of styles. However, after a tiring cue battle, the Jester won 5-3 to set his next meeting with the youngster Jamie Cope. His first century break of this tournament (a 110) and five consecutive frames were cashed by the Leicester man in order to whitewashed poor Cope.
During the quarter-finals he ended up on a tight 5-4 against a very determined Shaun Murphy, only to accomplish yet another whitewash in the semis, this time his victim being Mark King, whom he beat 6-0.

Mark Williams, the 2011 Shanghai Masters runner-up
The grand final was a classical snooker treat for "les connoisseurs". Mark Selby and Mark Williams have met so many times over the years and last time that happened, in a final, it was ... not so long ago actually, during the first edition of the German Masters, in February. Back then, the Englishman lost 7-9 in front of the "Welsh Potting Machine". But revenge was close to happen...

The first session saw the boys sharing frames. The game was played fluently, the players hit a century break each: Williams (132) and Selby (113), but when the Jester put his nose in front with a perfect 95, as to go 5-3, Williams knew it was time to act. So their morning encounter ended up on a 5-4 scoreline in favour of Selby.

The evening session lost some of that alert rhythm and each move seemed to be very well thought. The first mistakes (aka. misses) started to appear and most of them were just unbelievable. A bit of pressure, a bit of tension and lots of nerves can do that to you.
Selby was the one who broke the ice and went 6-4 up, but the Welshman reacted immediately and pulled one back. However, the pattern continued with Selby's top break of 35 and Williams' series of 37 and 25 that made the scoreline go 7-6.

Selby and his precious cheque
After the mid-interval was over the miracle happened and Williams drew level at 7-7, but he didn't do just that! He continued with breaks of 44 and 88 to take the lead for the first time since the beginning of the match. The Welshman was now just one step away from victory, 9-7.
But every advantage must be retained and the two-time world champion didn't manage to fulfil that small request.

With runs of 43 and 20 Selby forced a decider and when Williams missed in potting a long red at the beginning of the 19th frame all seemed lost for him. Still, Selby stopped his break at just 31 after losing position, so Williams came to the table. Visible gutted by the fact that he lost his playing rhythm and missed so many shots that put him in the position of playing a decider, the Welshman lost his temper and played a shot to nothing ... the result was that Selby had another shot at the table and this time he collected enough points to win the match. A clear mind in time of trouble brought Mark Selby his first major ranking event title of this season.

The 2011 Shanghai Masters trophy
After such an intense final Selby can return home not only with a cheque of £ 65,000 but also with the "I'm the world number one" title in his bag. His name will last in the history of snooker, next to Ray Reardon, Cliff Thorburn, Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, John Higgins, Mark Williams, Ronnie O'Sullivan and Neil Robertson's. Now, that's quite a privilege!

Mark Williams proved once more that he's still got it, but unfortunately, at the same time, he still can't catch the victory while he's on top of the situation. It happened during the 2010 UK Championship final, when he lost to John Higgins and it recently happened during the Australian Goldfields Open when he lost to Stuart Bingham in a similar way. Hopefully his luck will change and he'll play better next time. There's a trophy out there waiting for him.

So, this is it from Shanghai lads and lasses. See you in just a few days in Brazil for the inaugural Brazil Masters tournament. We have a mix of legends, stars of the moment and Brazil's prodigies for you and I dare to say it will be fun and very, very entertaining. ;-)