Mark Selby retained the World Snooker Championship on a dramatic 48 hours at the Crucible, eventually defeating John Higgins in a thrilling final on Monday night.
The defending champion and world number one was 10-4 down to John Higgins at one point on Sunday, but began his comeback by taking the final three frames to carry the final over to Monday with gathering momentum.
The 33-year-old then dominated the early round on Monday afternoon, winning six of the seven frames played to take a 13-11 lead into the final stretch, and looking for all the world like that same momentum would simply blow his opponent away.
Four-time champion Higgins stopped the rot by pulling it back to 14-12 early after the restart, and although Selby threatened to end it there and then by winning the next two, Higgins’ doggedness pulled it back to 16-14 to set up a thrilling finale.
The tie was not without controversy, however, as referee Jan Verhaas called a foul as Selby attempted to play a snooker behind the black but just coming up short. After consulting with scoring ref Brendan Moore and BBC analysts John Parrott and Steve Davis, Verhaas stuck to his guns and kept his original decision.
Though the gap was narrowed to one frame, that proved to be as much as Higgins had in the tank as Selby won the final two frames to claim the trophy for 2017.
“Mark Selby has joined the all-time greats!”
Amazing scenes as the Jester collects the trophy and celebrates with his family… pic.twitter.com/XadWER4Xrd
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) May 1, 2017
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker1) May 1, 2017
Congratulations to the magnificent @markjesterselby on retaining his World Championship crown. And well played John Higgins. Gripping final.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 1, 2017
What a magnificent final ??
— BBC Snooker (@BBCSnooker) May 1, 2017