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Champ Selby: I wish I'd played better
Mark Selby was left with mixed emotions after beating Shaun Murphy to land the williamhill.com UK Championship in another post-midnight snooker finish.
While Selby landed the biggest title of his career, a day after returning to world number one, he also professed disappointment about the quality of the final in which neither player managed a century break. Had the final run closer than 10-6, Selby's eventual victory margin, then there might easily have been a post-1am conclusion.
Selby said of his win: "Obviously it means a great deal. It's a special moment and a really proud moment. At the same time I was a little disappointed with the performance. But a result's a result. Shaun obviously didn't play well either."
He continued: "It's strange because over the whole tournament I only really played decent snooker in frames. I don't think I played a whole match where I played really good snooker. I've been poor in patches, more or less amateurish, and then other times I've had spurts of a few frames and I'm sitting here as UK champion. It's strange.
"Once I'd got to the point in the last frame where Shaun needed snookers I knew I was more or less over the line and it was obviously great. I'm over the moon, but it's always nice to go out there and put a good performance on, and as far as UK finals go it wouldn't go down as one of the greats."
Until the closing stages there had been nothing to pick between Selby and Murphy. They had been tied at 4-4 after the afternoon session and then equally split the first four frames of the evening.
But Selby's charge began after the mid-session interval and as Murphy's game began to deteriorate, he took full advantage. Murphy had the chance to pinch the 16th frame but could not hold his game together under intense pressure and Selby made certain of the title by clipping in the blue.
"It was never going to be a runaway victory for either of us," said Murphy.
"We know each other so well and each other's game so well. I don't think anyone was going to run away with it with loads of centuries, and Mark's style of play doesn't really allow anyone to do that to him.
"He plays some very clever shots and that's why he's the champion. At 6-6 I thought we were very even stevens. But after the interval he went up a couple of gears and I didn't go with him and ultimately paid the price."