Mark Selby produced one of the greatest ever Crucible final comebacks late last night to be crowned the new Dafabet World Championship champion.
Selby clinched a courageous 18-14 victory to deny reigning champion Ronnie O’Sullivan a third successive Crucible title in Sheffield.
Behind 8-3 and 10-5 to the ‘Rocket’, Selby showed his class to complete a remarkable turnaround for a famous win and a deserved £300,000 first prize.
And in doing so the Leicester professional joined an elite group of only nine players to have won snooker’s triple crown of majors - the Masters, UK Championship and World Championship.
He also became the new world No 1 having gone top of the world rankings’ money list.
Selby said: “It’s amazing. There isn’t a better feeling than this.
“There’s no better way of winning the title than beating Ronnie in the final.
“My father passed away when I was 16 and I said I’d always want to win the World Championship for him. So that’s for him.
“It can’t get any better this, I’ve just got to thank all my family for everything. They’ve been behind me when things have been tough. I owe them a lot.”
Not since 1992 when seven-time champion Stephen Hendry famously won ten frames in a row, from 14-8 down to beat Jimmy White 18-14, had the Crucible crowd witnessed such an amazing fightback in the final.
Welshman Mark Williams overturned a 13-7 deficit to beat compatriot Matthew Stevens 18-16 in the Crucible final 14 years ago.
Selby, who O’Sullivan once described as the “torturer” because of his grinding style, had struggled to find his form on the opening day of this year’s two-day final.
However, he had won the final two frames of the session to resume only 10-7 down when his deficit could have been much worse.
And the 30-year-old started in determined mood in the penultimate afternoon session as he refused his chances of a first Crucible title slip away.
Late on, Selby won two scrappy frames to pull two frames clear and made it a three-frame cushion with a break of 56 before the interval.
Victory was duly achieved by Selby as he made a pressure clearance of 35 to win the title.