Based on the omens, Selby appears to be the favourite. He won the last four matches, the last, in the quarter-finals of the 2021 World Cup, with a score of 13-3. You could argue with a convincing difference.
But more important than that is Selby’s amazing record in finals in the last seven years. He lost the finals of the 2016 Shanghai Masters to Ding Junhui, at which time he still had a negative scoring record in finals. Since then, he has only lost twice in title bouts. One of them happened to be in a shootout, which doesn’t really matter, right? The other happened in the last World Cup final. However, in addition to the two defeats, he achieved 14 victories. Thus, he turned his score to positive, achieving 22 wins and 11 losses.
Williams, on the other hand, has not won a competition in two years, coming up short in the last two finals. By the way, two years ago he won the British Open, but that tournament was much less serious than this year (a good portion of the matches lasted until I won a frame…). Perhaps the ‘law’ of form change could have spoken in favor of the Welshman, as he did not play well in the semi-final, while Selby excelled. However, this kind of thing can happen the next day. Of course, Williams is as stylish as home.
They started with a very long 40-minute frame that went to Williams. Then the next frame with a hundred. Then the third. Selby made a lot of mistakes. The Englishman won the fourth, but after the break he made mistakes again. Williams trailed 5-1, hitting another hundred and a 70-plus.
Selby showed good play for the first time in the seventh frame, although he had made a big mistake even then. However, he won the frame with a break of 98. With a 73, it was the last frame of the section as well, thus catching up to 5-3. Hell knows what happened to Selby after the sixth frame, but it is clear that he played snooker very differently, more decisively and, most importantly, with far more precision at the end of the first stage than before.
In the evening, Selby continued in a similar spirit, after a long security battle, he made a century progress. This reached 5-4. However, he was unable to equalize, neither then nor later, when Williams was leading 6-5. The standard dropped, and they never reached a break of 100 or even 50. Williams moved to 8-5, and then a stunningly long frame followed. It took so long that I had to take a bathroom break. This was in favor of Selby, who took advantage of his opponent’s mistakes to equalize the score 8-6.
Then 8-7 with the help of a 68 break. This ended a bad streak, as none of them had broken more than 50 in the previous five frames. The big question was whether Selby would be able to equalize this time. It really looked like he was going to make it happen, building a lead of over 50 points, but then he messed it up. Much later, for the first time since frame six, Williams pushed a break of half a hundred again, 69 to be exact. This put him one frame away from winning the tournament.
Selby had a great opportunity to beautify himself, but he couldn’t take advantage of it either. With a 50-point advantage, he failed to throw the ball again from behind the frame ball, and that was the end of the match. Williams won 10-7 and can lift his 25th title. At 48 years old, he is the second-oldest winner of the tournament ever. Selby lost two finals in a row for the first time in a long time. This has not happened to him since 2014.