Article by Stephen Kent. Photo courtesy of World Snooker.
Mark Selby won his first ranking title of the season at the German Masters in Berlin two months ago and has now added his first China Open victory to his CV, beating Gary Wilson 10-2 in Beijing.
Wilson, ranked outside the top 64 coming in to this tournament was a surprise finalist having beaten Ding Junhui, Ricky Walden and Barry Hawkins on route to Sunday's showpiece.
Unfortunately for the former taxi driver from Wallsend, he was unable to recapture his form from those matches as current world champion Selby stormed to a 8-1 lead at the end of the first session.
Apart from setting the tournament high break of 145 in the seventh frame, Selby wasn't in his top scoring form, but he didn't need to be as apart from a 91 in the fourth frame, Wilson struggled for consistency and his other high breaks of the session were 43 and 40.
When they resumed in the evening, Selby exploded out of the blocks with a 136, before Wilson responded with a 101 of his own in the 11th frame. However at that point it was far to late for Wilson as Selby won the next, close frame to win frame, match and tournament 10-2.
Although Wilson himself will no doubt be disappointed how he played in the final, this amazing run, along with his recent Welsh Open quarterfinal appearance will give him a huge confidence boost heading in to the World Snooker Championship qualifiers which begin next week at Ponds Forge, Sheffield.
Selby will be thrilled to have finally won the China Open, having finished as a runner-up on two previous occasions here in Beijing. Some might say that it doesn't bode well for him heading towards the Crucible however, as the China Open champion has never gone on to win the world championship the same year.
As well as this, Selby has the famous “Curse of the Crucible” to contend with, the fact that no first-time world champion has ever gone on to defend his title will surely be on his mind heading in to snooker's showpiece event. Can Selby be the first to break the curse?
Follow the results from the World Snooker Champion qualifiers here: http://snooker.org/res/index.asp?event=368