TRADEMARK SELBY RETAINS HAINING OPEN TITLE
World Number 1 Mark Selby defended the Haining International Open title after producing a trademark recovery to deny Li Hang in a dramatic final.
The event, which is somewhat of an appetiser for next week's World Open in Yushan, was run by the Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association (CBSA). It featured 121 players, both amateur and professional, from the host nation and beyond.
Champion Selby's campaign was nearly short-lived, though, as he trailed rookie professional Simon Lichtenberg of Germany 3-1 in the opening round before claiming the last three frames to oust the European Under 21 Champion.
The three-time World Champion, who made a 147 maximum break against Tom Ford during last year's final, then progressed to 'Finals Day' with comfortable victories over Paul Davison (4-0), Si Jiahui (4-1) and Zhang Anda (4-1).
He booked a berth in the championship decider following eliminations of Gary Wilson (4-1) and Mark King (4-2) in the Last 8 and 4 respectively.
2016 runner-up Li made it two final appearances in three attempts. On his route there he defeated professionals Elliot Slessor (4-1) in the Last 32, Mei Xiwen (4-0) in the Quarter-Finals and Akani Songsermsawad (4-2) in the Semi-Finals.
It looked as if Li would make up for his loss to Matt Selt here two years previously when he crafted runs of 70, 69 and 51 to put himself 4-1 up in the Best-of-9 Frames finale.
However, the situation appeared to get to the Chinese cueist as he squandered opportunities to record the biggest win of his career to date.
As Selby has done so often throughout the years he pounced and fully capitalised, chalking up the last four frames to seal a 5-4 success and bank the ¥120,000 (approx £13,500) winner's kitty.
Despite not being a World Snooker competition, Li will be bitterly disappointed not to have lifted the trophy - he looked assured early on in the encounter.
Selby once again lived up to his reputation of thriving and delivering in a comeback situation. He will be hoping history repeats itself as immediately after his win here twelve months ago he went on to defend the International Championship. The 35-year-old goes into the World Open as the tournament favourite where he begins his bid against Elliot Slessor on Tuesday.
Several other professionals took part in Haining including major ranking event winners Barry Hawkins, Joe Perry, Liang Wenbo and Michael Georgiou.
2018 Haining International Open - Results from the Final Day
Mark Selby 4-1 Gary Wilson
Mark King 4-2 Matt Selt
Li Hang 4-0 Mei Xiwen
Ju Reti 2-4 Akani Songsermsawad
Selby 4-2 Wilson
Li 4-2 Songsermsawad
Selby 5-4 Li
The image above is courtesy of Bozena Kucharska (@lovselby on Twitter)
Article written and published by Michael Day on the 4th August 2018