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Mark Selby v David Gilbert: English Open final 2019 preview - Duo collide for first Home Nations title

Selby lines up a shot as Gilbert looks on (credit:Imagine China/PA Images)

Mark Selby and David Gilbert will face off for the right to claim their first Home Nation Series title at the 2019 English Open in Crawley on Sunday.

The world number five and world number 12 lock horns at the K2 Centre, with Selby bidding to end his mini title drought and Gilbert out to secure his first ranking silverware.

Selby is appearing in his first ranking final since the China Championship 14 months ago, having surrendered the world number one spot at the backend of last season amid a dip in form by his consistently high standards.

The three-time World Champion, however, has looked somewhere close to his best again this week, defying the short format in the early rounds to claim wins over Barry Pinches, Martin O'Donnell, Matthew Selt and Xiao Guodong.

The Leicester ace then reeled off five consecutive frames from 3-0 down to defeat Mei Xiwen in the Quarter-Finals before coming through a marathon decider to edge out Mark Allen 6-5 in Saturday's Semis.

Selby is eyeing a 16th career ranking title and is unbeaten in his last seven ranking finals over the past three years, with his most recent triumph on UK soil coming at The Crucible in 2017.

Gilbert, meanwhile, has won through to a fourth ranking final and is looking to stop the rot and open his account following agonising defeats in the 2015 International Championship, 2018 World Open and 2018 German Masters deciders.

The 38-year-old has kicked on from his landmark run to the Semi-Finals of the World Championship earlier this year, affirming himself as a key contender in every event he enters.

His run to the final began with comfortable wins over Stuart Carrington and Ryan Davies, before seeing off Kurt Maflin and Zhao Xintong and edging out Ricky Walden 5-4 in a tight Quarter-Final.

Gilbert then dispatched maximum man Tom Ford 6-3 in the second Semi-Final and now comes up against 'The Jester' for the third time this year.

Selby has won five of their seven previous meetings over the past decade, including a narrow 6-5 success in their most recent encounter at the International Championship in August.

The final gets underway from 1pm BST for a total of eight frames before resuming to a finish over the best of 17 from 7pm.


Player's View:


Selby: "Last season my safety was letting me down so it's nice to get that side of my game back. 

"I get on really well with both David Gilbert so it will be great to play him in the final."

Gilbert: "I'm glad to be playing Mark in the final because he's a good friend. 

"He has helped me a lot over the last few years by letting me practise with him. 

"I have learned a lot from him and I'm looking forward to sharing the dancefloor with him. He is a legend and I’m just trying to make my way through."


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Mark Selby v David Gilbert: English Open final 2019 preview - Duo collide for first Home Nations title

Mark Selby and David Gilbert will face off for the right to claim their first Home Nation Series title at the 2019 English Open in Crawley on Sunday.

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