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Mark Selby v Mark Williams: China Open 2017 Final preview - Decorated duo do battle in Beijing


Williams aims to pull off mission impossible (credit: via Getty Images)

Mark Selby aims to deny Mark Williams a fourth China Open title and an automatic qualifying spot in the World Championship when the pair face off in the final in Beijing on Sunday.

The world number one is appearing in his fourth China Open final, having fallen short in 2011 and 2013 before thrashing Gary Wilson 10-2 to land this title for the first time two years ago.



The current World Champion is also bidding to break the curse which has seen no player manage to win the China Open and the proceeding World Championship in the same season.

The Leicester ace kick-started his run this week with a 5-0 whitewash of Alfie Burden, before powering past Martin O'Donnell 5-1 and surviving his only scare so far by edging out Andrew Higginson in a last-frame decider.

He then ended Stephen Maguire's hopes of gatecrashing an automatic qualifying spot for the World Championship with a ruthless 5-1 victory, before holding off the challenge of Kyren Wilson with a 6-4 Semi-Final triumph.

Williams is facing a make-or-break double session of snooker, with both his title hopes and prospects of not having to battle through the gruelling World Championship qualifiers on the line.

The two-time World Champion has rolled back the years this week, dropping just three frames in defeating Zhang Anda and Michael Holt, before edging out John Higgins 5-4 in the Last 16.

The left-hander then swept aside Shaun Murphy 5-1, before making light work of Iran's Hossein Vafaei - running out a 6-1 winner in Saturday's Semi-Finals.

Currently ranked 22, the £85,000 top prize would be sufficient to guide the 'Welsh Potting Machine' back into the world's top 16 and therefore into automatic qualification for The Crucible in a fortnight's time.

There is little to split the duo in terms of overall head-to-heads, with Williams having won nine of their 17 previous meetings, though Selby notably claimed a 6-5 win in their most recent encounter in the First Round of The Masters in January.

Their latest show-down gets underway from 7am BST, resuming to a finish from 12.30pm and will be contested over the best of 19 frames at the University Students’ Gymnasium in Beijing.


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Mark Selby v Mark Williams: China Open 2017 Final preview - Decorated duo do battle in Beijing

Mark Selby aims to deny Mark Williams a fourth China Open title and an automatic qualifying spot in the World Championship when the pair face off in the final in Beijing on Sunday.

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