The final of the 2014 dafabet World Championship will see two of the sports great champions squaring off against each other as defending & five time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan faces Mark Selby over two days & the best of 35 frames for the games most coveted title.
Mark Selby reached the world final for the second time in his career tonight after a hard fought 17-15 win over Neil Robertson in a match that had everything.
From the outset this looked like it would be a close affair throughout and so it proved as a tight first session left Selby leading 5-3. In what was to become the trend for the match Robertson leveled things up at 5-5 at the start of the second session but Selby pulled away again to hold his lead at the end 9-7.
Into this mornings session then and when u have two players as renowned for their safety game as these two,a session like this was always on the cards and so it proved as a very long,but thoroughly engrossing eight frames left things perfectly poised for tonight ending as it did 12-12.
Out both players came tonight then and an extraordinary thing happen,as two players who at times seem to fall into the trap of not trying to lose rather then trying to win,both started to go for it and produce some fabulous snooker.Robertson was the first to strike,taking a 13-12 lead ,before two in a row from Selby saw him lead again at 14-13.Robertson then took the last before the interval to make it 14-14.
The match now had been reduced to a best of five and it was Selby who took a major leap towards the final taking the next two to move to the brink at 16-14. There was time for one more century for Robertson,bringing his season total to 103,but the end was to come in the 34th frame when a 74 from Selby saw him over the line to win 17-15.
By contrast his opponent in tomorrows final Ronnie O'Sullivan could hardly have had a less stressful path through to his sixth world final as,for the second round in a row,he completed victory with a session to spare,beating Barry Hawkins 17-7.
You always felt for Hawkins to have a chance in this one he needed a good start and thats what he got as he lead Ronnie 2-1. He really should have made it 3-1 ,but Ronnie leveled it and never looked back ending the first session with a 6-2 lead.
That became 10-6 after four majestic frames at the start of the second session.Hawkins did at least manage to find some form winning three of the next four,but still trailed 11-5 going into the third session.Ronnie needed six of the eight frames to give himself a Saturday afternoon off and thats what he got,sealing the victory in the last frame of the night winning 17-7.
So now we have the final that snooker fans have wanted to see for a long time. Selby of course has a great record against Ronnie in final with a head to head record of played six. and each won three.Two of those victories from Selby came from seemingly losing positions and such was the way he got under Ronnies skin in those games,That Ronnie christened him "The Torturer" in his recent autobiography.
These performances will of course give Selby encouragement,but as they say,That was then & this is now.Since those finals a few years back I think most would agree Ronnie has stepped things up in every department of his gameplay and as importantly his approach.For a current formline all you have to do is look at the demolition job Ronnie did on. Selby in The Masters final in January.
In that match,as in his last two rounds here Ronnie was quick out of the blocks and never looked back..It Therefore goes without saying for Selby to have a chance of claiming his first world title he needs to be within touching distance of Ronnie after the first two sessions tomorrow.If I'm honest I just don't see him getting close enough to worry Ronnie and my Score Prediction is 18-10 to Ronnie