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Ronnie O’Sullivan comments on Mark Selby’s controversial re-spot in World Snooker Championship final

O'Sullivan Selby

“Selby is maybe just trying to gain a little advantage.”

Mark Selby held off a spirited fightback from Shaun Murphy to capture his fourth World Championship title with an 18-15 victory at a sold-out Crucible Theatre in Sheffield on Monday night.

With Selby holding a commanding 17-13 lead, Murphy refused to throw in the towel as the 2005 champion recorded back-to-back centuries to move to within two.

However, in the decisive 33rd frame, Murphy missed a difficult red down the cushion, allowing Selby to clear the table and add to his Crucible triumphs in 2014, 2016 and 2017.

Selby

Mark Selby wins the World Championship for the fourth time.

Earlier in the match, in the 20th frame, Selby – who at that point was leading 11-8 – had benefitted from a controversial re-spot after Murphy left him in a near-impossible place behind the brown.

Selby tried, unsuccessfully, three times to play the shot with the extended ‘spider’ and ‘swan’ rests.

However, at the fourth time of asking, Selby was able to play at the fourth time of asking with the normal rest after the cue ball was seemingly re-spotted incorrectly.

Ronnie O’Sullivan on Mark Selby.

Speaking on Eurosport, six-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan – who exited this year’s tournament at the hands of Anthony McGill – said he was surprised that Murphy did not challenge the re-spot.

“If the white was put back where it was originally, this shot is just not possible,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport.

“Because you can’t hit enough of the white, and if you did, you would probably miscue and the white would go towards the yellow.

“So if this shot was playable in the first place, he would have done. But even still, even when the white has moved [from the re-spot] quite considerably, really, he still couldn’t hit enough of the white to come that side of the red.

“So that shot was just never possible. You try not to blame the players, but in that situation, if the player has got the spider out originally and then he is using the rest, surely they should be able to use the technology to see the balls are not right.

“Because if they were right, you would still have the spider in your hands. So maybe they should have used the technology to get it right.

“Personally, if I was playing and I was Shaun, I would have been out of my chair and I would have asked to see a freeze-frame to say that shot was not on in the first place.

“That’s what I would have done, but Shaun obviously did not choose to exercise that option.”

Selby

Ronnie O’Sullivan critical of Shaun Murphy for not challenging Mark Selby over re-spot.

O’Sullivan, who lost to Selby in the 2014 final, went on to say the eventual champion might have been ‘trying to gain a little advantage’ and criticised Murphy for not challenging him.

Murphy eventually won the frame in question, but that did not stop O’Sullivan from questioning the 40-year-old’s decision to stay in his seat.

“You have to blame Shaun in that situation. Selby is maybe just trying to gain a little advantage, and unless he is pulled up on it, maybe he is going to try and take that advantage.

Ronnie O’Sullivan proposes shot-clock solution to tackle Mark Selby’s slow play

“I know straight away, when you are cueing over with that spider, that’s the worst shot in snooker. The first two shots, he would probably do that [scuff it for a miss] 100 times out of 100. So if he is getting the rest out, why didn’t he do that in the first place? Now I’m thinking that the balls must be in the wrong position.

“Let’s get it right, because that ain’t right. To me, the first decision would always be the rest over the spider [before a re-spot, no question about that.”

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