World Snooker Championship 2014 Final: Scores, Results, Schedule and More
Two players are left standing in the 2014 World Snooker Championship, as Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Selby will square off in a best-of-35 final at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
"The Rocket" will be defending a title he has won in back-to-back years and has looked like his usual dominant self throughout much of the tournament.
Selby, however, will play without any pressure as O'Sullivan is widely expected to make it three in a row. He showed everyone he was in superb control of his game with his thrilling semi-final win over Neil Robertson, holding off the world No. 1 to win 17-15.
The final will start with two sessions on Sunday, and the first player to reach 18 frame wins will be crowned World Champion.
May 5, Evening Session
Mark Selby produced an incredible display in the last session of the World Snooker Championship final to defeat defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan 18-14 and lift the famous trophy.
There was just one frame in it going into the evening session, with Selby 12-11 ahead, but that lead did not last long at all. The Rocket came out and knocked in a break of 100 to level the game up in no time at all.
Selby showed that he was not to be worried, though, as he battled hard to win the next three frames and go within three of victory. This epic tussle continued to swing to-and-fro, however, as O’Sullivan proved he was still up for the fight with dogged displays in the 28th and 29th and frames, both of which he won.
The score stood at 15-14 to Selby, and many would have made The Rocket the favourite at that point, but this is where the Jester from Leicester really proved he is now the best in the world. He chose this point to make his highest break of the match (127) and then made a superb 87 in the next to go just one frame from victory.
O’Sullivan had the chance to wrap up that 32nd frame but missed the yellow to clinch it. Selby stepped up needing all the colours to win the title, most of which were tricky, but he showed no nerves as he cleared the table and became world champion.
The new champion told the BBC:
It was amazing. It could not be better. There's no better way than beating Ronnie in the final. I dug in, I did not play pretty snooker early on but as it wore on I thought I did well.
It was a tough day yesterday and the last two games were huge. To get back into 10-7 gave me a chance.
It's not really sunk in but my father passed away when I was 16 and I always said I wanted to win the world title for him.
O'Sullivan proved a gracious loser in his first World Championship final defeat, saying:
I want to congratulate Mark on a fantastic tournament he's been the best player over 17 days, that was tough he had me in all sorts of trouble. In the end I was numb as he was too strong.
Selby's achievement does not end at winning the world title for a first time. He returns to the world No. 1 spot and becomes only the ninth man to win snooker's Triple Crown of the World Championship, Masters and UK Championship.
The new champion takes home a mammoth £300,000 for his efforts—the greatest single winner's prize in the history of the sport.
May 5, Afternoon Session
Mark Selby 12-11 Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O'Sullivan took the initiative right from the off in the first frame of the afternoon. 10-7 up overnight, you sensed that the defending champion wanted to get things over with as quickly as possible.
A lack of concentration saw him down the cue ball and Mark Selby took full advantage, a break of 55 taking him back to within two frames.
At 73-22 up in the second, Selby needed just a red to leave O'Sullivan with snookers, but a missed pot let the latter back in. Fortunately for Selby, O'Sullivan couldn't take advantage. The five-frame advantage O'Sullivan held from the previous evening was gently but very definitely being eroded by Selby.
The confidence of the "Jester from Leicester" was clearly sky high as he strode confidently around the table and a well-built break of 74 took him level, and the Crucible erupted as he took the last frame before the mid-session break.
During live commentary, BBC TV's John Parrot noted:
If you're Ronnie O'Sullivan what do you do [...] since the first frame he's been outplayed. Every time he comes to the table he's been outplayed [...] there's always a problem, something to solve, lots of snookers.
Things were that bad for the "Rocket" that a sports psychiatrist was summonsed to his dressing room where he stayed throughout the mid-session break.
Both players suffered unbelievably from nerves in the first frame back, missing colour after colour. Even the simplest of pots seemed beyond them.
Selby took the chance to go ahead and things began to look anonymous for O'Sullivan. In a sign of his character a 50 break saw O'Sullivan draw level, taking the frame 76-38.
At 11 frames apiece, the tournament director took the decision in the middle of the next frame to make it the last, and give the player a rest before the final evening session.
It ended up being the longest frame of the day as the advantage swung back and forth, both players careful with their safety shots. At 58-57 to O'Sullivan, it looked for all the world as if the defending champion would go into the final session ahead.
A missed pink astonished the entire crowd and the commentary team who noted "even a pub player could've potted it. Unbelievable."
It allowed Selby the chance to nick the frame on a very difficult black and go into the final session ahead.
Only one frame in the afternoon for O'Sullivan really puts him under pressure for the evening session. Where O'Sullivan looks erratic, Selby by contrast has looked confident and assured.
It will be the first time O'Sullivan has gone into the final session at the Crucible behind. Only four people in the Crucible's illustrious history have managed to win the title from that position.
May 4, Evening Session
Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-7 Mark Selby
Ronnie O’Sullivan takes a lead into the second day of the World Snooker Championship Final on Monday after finishing Sunday evening’s second session 10-7 ahead of Mark Selby.
The Rocket led 5-3 after the afternoon session and kicked-off the evening session in fine style as he claimed the first three frames on the players’ return. A half-century in both the tenth and eleventh frame from the defending champion saw him open up a commanding five-frame lead.
Selby was struggling to find his best form and was missing a number of chances; however, he dug in to win the next two frames and reduce his deficit to three. This seemed to spur on O’Sullivan, though, as he then produced his best form of the match as yet. The Rocket knocked in a stunning break of 131 and followed that with an 87 to reopen his five-frame advantage.
The Jester from Leicester was in danger of being left for dead by the five-time winner of this event. However, he once again proved his mettle by claiming the final two frames of the day. This leaves him as a significant underdog, but also very much in the match going into the second day.
Play will resume at 2 p.m. BST on Monday with two more sessions scheduled on Monday.
May 4, Afternoon Session
Ronnie O'Sullivan 5-3 Mark Selby
The Rocket dominated the opening session of this match before the interval, but Selby fought back from a 3-1 deficit and looked to tie things up at four frames each headed into the evening.
A crucial miss on black with no reds left on the table proved decisive, however, and as O'Sullivan cleared the table and grabbed the win on the very last shot, it became clear Selby would have to be at his very best to stop The Rocket from winning his third consecutive title at the Crucible.
The 5-3 score looks quite misleading, as O'Sullivan outscored Selby 398 to 171 points during the first six frames. The sport's biggest star was clearly feeling his shot-making, but his opponent seemed to have the advantage in safeties and fought himself back into the match by exploiting O'Sullivan's aggressive nature.
Consistency has often been a problem for Selby, though, and after a fluky red in the final frame, a bad miss on black gave The Rocket a two-frame lead after the first session.
O'Sullivan would match legends Steve Davis and Ray Reardon by winning a sixth World Championship should he win this match, just one shy of Stephen Hendry's record. As he told the BBC, it's a record he'd love to share, even if the record itself is not the end goal for the Rocket:
I would be lying if I said if I didn't think about reaching six and then seven and breaking Hendry's record.
But it wasn't a goal I set myself - sometimes I think it is a long way to go and it doesn't sit well with my mental preparations. If it happens, great, if not, I've got five already.
When I got to four I knew I was up there with the legends of the game so to have got five is great. To get to six would be fantastic but I still look back on my career and it is something to be proud of.
Play will resume later in the evening, and after a somewhat sloppy opening session, look for O'Sullivan to continue attacking as he starts to build a rhythm. If The Rocket can get back to the form he displayed before the interval, there seems to be little Selby could do to stop him.
"The Jester From Leicester" will have to polish his game fast, as any mistake will prove to be costly against a player like O'Sullivan. His safety game has worked well so far, but at some point, Selby will have to start matching O'Sullivan for pots.