Mark Selby clinches third World Championship title after stunning comeback against John Higgins

Mark Selby completed a remarkable comeback to beat John Higgins 18-15 and retain his World Championship crown at The Crucible.

The world number one claimed his third world title against all the odds, having trailed Higgins 10-4 at one point on Sunday evening.

But a dominant Bank Holiday Monday performance saw Selby overcome four-time world champion Higgins, who at 41 was bidding to become the oldest winner since Ray Reardon won in 1978 aged 45.

Having trailed 10-7 overnight, Selby won the Monday afternoon session 6-1 to move 13-11 ahead, and despite a spirited effort from Higgins – which featured a controversial moment in frame 31 – the reigning champion closed out the stunning victory.

Selby now joins John Spencer (1969, 1971 and 1977) as a three-time champion, with Higgins’ tally of four (1998, 2007, 2009, 2011) very much in the 33-year-old’s sights.

The ‘Jester from Leicester’ carried on the momentum that saw him win the final three frames on Sunday by claiming the opening two on Monday afternoon.

This five-frame run was eventually ended by Higgins, but Selby then won two exhausting frames to level the scores at 11-11.

And 10 years on from their epic Crucible showdown – which saw Higgins prevail 18-13 at 00:54am in the latest finish in final history – the rematch appeared to be heading for another post-midnight finish.

But Selby had other ideas, and having not led since clinching Sunday’s opening frame, he leapfrogged Higgins to take a 13-11 lead going into the final session.

Selby then won three of the evening’s opening four frames before the mid-session interval to move within two of victory, but Higgins would not lie down easily, as breaks of 88 and 111 took him to 16-14 before he claimed a third straight frame in bizarre circumstances.

The incident in the 31st frame saw referee Jan Verhaas call a foul as Selby – who was leading 47-0 – rolled the white in behind the black. It was deemed to have missed, although replays suggest it may have hit, and Higgins went on to win the frame 74-47.

It was a moment which certainly divided opinion, but it handed Higgins a way back into the match when all seemed lost. However, Selby showed immense mental strength to make a 131 clearance and move within one frame of the championship.

Selby then held his nerve in magnificent fashion to close out the match and win it 18-15 with yet another composed break to seal his third world title.

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