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Ronnie O'Sullivan Best Shots 2014 World Snooker Championship
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Mark Selby had wanted to spend his Bank Holiday Monday watching his team Leicester City celebrate promotion to the Premier League. Instead, he did the next best thing: he spent it becoming world snooker champion, beating Ronnie O'Sullivan 18-14 in a quite extraordinary final.
With this victory, celebrated with a double fist pump and shout of triumph, the 30-year-old completed one of the most determined comebacks in the tournament's history. On Sunday evening he had looked finished, exhausted, washed up; at one point trailing by 10 frames to five; 24 hours later he was wearing the full beam smile of the world champion, with a cheque of £300,000 in his pocket. What a performance, what a turnaround, what a win; one which he had been waiting 14 years to deliver.
"My father died when I was 16, two months before I turned pro," he said, momentarily choked by the emotion of victory. "His last words to me were to win the world title. I promised him I would. So this is for him."
If it was a victory for his dad, it was hard won. Until now O'Sullivan has never looked anything but serene in the five world finals in which he has competed. He has bullied his opponents into submission with the sparkling nature of his attacking play. In his last two victories at the Crucible he took a 10-7 lead into the final day and accelerated away, surfing the wave of enthusiasm pouring down from his fans. So it was that when he arrived here yesterday afternoon in possession a 10-7 lead everyone expected history to follow: it seemed only a matter of time before the Rocket joined Steve Davis and Ray Reardon as a six-time champion.
However, that did not account for Selby, an opponent with all the adhesive qualities of a barnacle. Brilliantly preying on O'Sullivan's flaws, he checked, stalled and finally overwhelmed the champion. O'Sullivan was gracious in defeat.