|Masters snooker final 2013: Mark Selby beats Neil Robertson|
21 January 2013
Mark Selby won the Masters title for the third time in six years with a comfortable 10-6 victory over Neil Robertson at Alexandra Palace.
The world number one had gone 5-1 ahead with three breaks over 70, but was pegged back by Robertson who reduced the arrears to two frames.
Englishman Selby then knocked in 67 in a three-frame run to make it 8-3.
But defending champion Robertson reeled off three in a row himself before Selby took the two he needed for victory.
"Every time we come out in the one table set-up it feels like a final. The crowds here are great and it gets you up for it,"
"Neil is similar to myself and never gives in. It was nice to play well for a change and to do it on the big stage in a Masters final. Everyone aims for the 'triple crown' but it will be tough to achieve.
"I struggled yesterday but going into today, he was the player of the tournament. I knew I had to come out attacking and put in a good performance. I held on at the end."
Although not a ranking event, the Masters is recognised as one of the most prestigious titles in the sport.
Selby's success caps a marvellous two months having won the UK Championship as well as returning to number one in the world in December.
Australia's Robertson, the world number five, was bidding to become only the fourth man after Cliff Thorburn, Stephen Hendry and Paul Hunter to successfully defend the crown.
But Leicester's Selby produced an altogether more fluent performance than his gritty, late-night showing against Graeme Dott in the semi-final.
"Mark is a world class player, the world number one and is tough to break through. I could not repeat my performances of the week and it was not my night," Robertson said afterwards.
"He punished me and is a deserving winner.
"At 8-6 I thought I had every chance, but he finished it off like a champion."
Selby made the perfect start by taking the opening three frames, including a 102 - his only century of the tournament - before Robertson notched his first.
He increased his lead to 5-1, but Robertson stroked in 63 and 72 in the last two frames of the first session to keep him in touch.
Selby, who also won the title in 2008 and 2010, then clinched the ninth and 10th frames as his opponent missed opportunities, stretching his advantage to four frames again.
And a poor safety from 'The Thunder from Down Under' allowed Selby the chance to pocket a red in the middle, which he duly did to win another frame.
With the Melbourne man knowing he could not afford to gift Selby any more openings, he duly compiled runs of 74 and 83 to close to 8-5.
And when Selby suffered a kick in the following frame, Robertson pulled back one more to put Selby under pressure. But the UK champion managed to grind out the first tactical frame of the encounter to take him to the brink of victory.
The next turned out to be a strategic exchange too, and Selby took it to pick up the crystal trophy and £175,000 prize money in front of a raucous London crowd.
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