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Watch: Selby holds off Murphy to claim fourth world snooker title

Mark Selby won a fourth world snooker title as he held off a stirring fightback from Shaun Murphy to win 18-15 in front of a capacity crowd at the Crucible.

Selby punched the air after sinking the final black under immense pressure to join John Higgins as a four-time champion.

The 37-year-old had endured a torrid time after winning his previous crown in 2017, crashing out in the first round as defending champion and surrendering his status as world number one after going over two-and-a-half years without a British-based ranking title.

Selby strode out for the final session with a 14-11 advantage, but well aware of the danger posed by Murphy, who had roared into the final in the kind of free-flowing form that evoked memories of his charge to the title as a fresh-faced qualifier in 2005.

After Selby moved to within one frame of victory, Murphy produced back-to-back centuries to set up a nervy finale.

He came close to taking another after Selby broke down on a break of 38 in the next, but a difficult red down the cushion proved a step too far, and Selby duly cleared up.

β€œAbsolutely incredible. Every time you get to a world final you always try your hardest because it’s such a tough tournament to get there and you never know if it’s going to be your last or not,” said Selby.

β€œA few years ago I had some really, really dark days and times were tough, obviously all the family will understand what I’m going through, so this has been a special one.”

Selby’s win moved him back up to number two in the world rankings.

β€œMy aim is to try and get back to number one,” he added. β€œYou still have massive goals in your career and I’m going in the right direction.”

Murphy paid tribute to the champion, telling the BBC: β€œHe’s just super-granite. Unfortunately for me I’ve known him since we were nine years of age and he’s always been the same.

β€œI started the match well and he just went into super-hard mode and broke me last night. It was a tough lead to give him overnight in a match of this calibre and it probably made the difference.”

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