World Snooker Championship 2021 – Mark Selby wins fourth Crucible title with win over Shaun Murphy
Mark Selby is now a four-time world champion after beating Shaun Murphy in the 2021 World Snooker Championship final. Selby won the final 18-15 in front of a sold-out crowd to move level with John Higgins on four titles. Only Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and Ronnie O’Sullivan have won on more occasions at the Crucible.
Watch the moment Selby clinches fourth world title at Crucible
Should Selby have flagged this dodgy re-spot in his favour?
A raucous reception greeted the two players for the last session on Monday night, with Selby up 14-11 and out to claim the four frames required to seal a fourth world title.
The 26th frame began with a safety battle, but after Murphy potted a long red he missed a simple pink which allowed Selby a chance to take the frame.
Trailing 28-4, Selby knocked in 66 to move within three of the title, and he looked set to take the next frame only to be stopped in his tracks on 44.
'I don't know how he's missed that' - Murphy with dramatic foul
On 30, Murphy accidentally rolled the white into the right-middle pocket to throw the frame wide open, but after taking on and potting a red on the cushion, the 2005 champion reduced the deficit to three once more with a masterful clear-up – fist-pumping to the crowd as he looked to mount his comeback.
A quick 40 then put Selby in control of the 28th frame, and though his 147 hopes finished after he was forced to play a safety on the sixth red, he returned to the table and sunk 68 to clinch it.
As the tension ramped up and Murphy looked to cling on to his slim hopes of victory, the 38-year-old held his nerve when requiring a few visits to win the next frame and make it 16-13 at the mid-session interval.
'Selby stopped Murphy from playing' - White on what decided final
After the short break, it was more than 16 minutes until the first pot with the reds and colours scattered across the table. Selby won the tactical battle and took the frame with it, making most of an open table to knock in a superb 120 – only the third century of the final.
Selby was the first to pot as he looked to seal the final frame required to win, but a miss two shots later handed Murphy a chance to begin what he hoped was a miraculous escape.
A round 100 did for starters, and after Murphy won the safety exchange in the following frame he sank a second straight century, this time 110, to make it 17-15.
'Selby is willing to wait longer than everyone else' - Murphy
Murphy then took his chance with a long red, but he missed and gifted Selby another chance to halt the comeback.
Selby opened the reds slightly but could only muster a 38, and though Murphy went on to take a 57-38 lead, a risky red on the cushion, while using the rest, rattled the jaws and presented Selby with a chance to win.
After potting the final red, Selby needed up to the final pink to get over the line, and after potting a difficult brown and blue, the 37-year-old cleared up before roaring out to the Crucible crowd.
"Mark Selby is super-granite, unfortunately for me," Murphy said. "He's always been the same and I've known him since I was nine. I started well but he went into super-hard mode, he broke me last night with that three-frame lead which is a significant lead in a match like this.
'He hid round the corner' - Selby reveals distraction on final black
"Life has been difficult for everybody over the last 12 months but I want to say a very deep and personal thank you for everyone of you who has bought a ticket over the last 17 days.
"Sport is nothing without fans and we've been thrilled to have everyone back and a full house tonight. It's been very tough for me this year with the travel restrictions but you've brought me back."
Selby added: "It’s absolutely incredible. Every time you get to a world final you always try your hardest – it’s such a tough tournament to get there and you never know whether it’s going to be your last.
"I thought Shaun played fantastic all the way through the match. He’s a great, great player, a great ambassador for the game. I truly believe he’s back to where he was."