Haikou World Open: Shaun Murphy beats Mark Selby in Sunday's final
Last Updated: 16/03/14 6:23pm
Shaun Murphy: The world No 9 beat Mark Selby 10-6 in Sunday's final
Shaun Murphy clinched the Haikou World Open in China on Sunday courtesy of a 10-6 success over fellow Englishman Mark Selby.
The 31-year-old earned his first ranking title in three years, holding his nerve after his good friend had staged a mini-revival.
Murphy had not been victorious in an event since the 2011 Players Tour Championship Grand Finals and looked firmly on course to avenge the 6-1 drubbing he was given in the Masters by Selby, who trailed 7-2 at the end of the first session.
But the 'Jester from Leicester' then came out firing on all cylinders to narrow the deficit to 8-6 before the 2005 world champion battled gamely to win the next two frames to seal his success.
"Mark was under no pressure at 7-2," said Murphy on worldsnooker.com. "I knew he would come back and that I would have to wait for my chances.
"Today was a good match, we both played well in parts. I'm so happy to win a ranking event again, it has been a long time. Snooker is a very tough game now so these events are hard to win.
"There are three more tournaments to go this season and maybe there's something left in the tank."
The world No 9 stormed into a 4-0 lead thanks to breaks of 64, 80 and 52 before Selby hit back to win the next two frames, clinching the sixth following a 91.
"Today was a good match, we both played well in parts. I'm so happy to win a ranking event again, it has been a long time. Snooker is a very tough game now so these events are hard to win."
But Murphy hit his stride thereafter and extended his lead, following up a 98 with breaks of 105 and 112 to take a comfortable lead at the end of the first session as he looked to end his trophy drought.
World No 2 Selby started strongly on the resumption with a break of 78 and then closed the gap to 7-5 after taking advantage of mistakes which were creeping into the game of Murphy, who stopped the rot by taking the 13th frame with a 60 break.
Selby took the next and seemed well poised to move just one frame behind, but after building a 49-point lead he faulted and Murphy's 78 clearance took him to the brink of victory, with the Manchester-based potter claimed his fifth title immediately afterwards.
Defeat for Selby was his third in the final of a major competition this season, having finished runner-up in the UK Championship and the Masters, and the 30-year-old from Leicester admitted his poor start proved his undoing.
"In the first session I started badly," he said. "Giving someone of Shaun's capability a 7-2 lead is hard to come back from. Shaun played very well all day. He punished me and won some really important frames."