Majestic Mark Selby thrashes Barry Hawkins to retain China Open title

Jamie Shaw in China Open

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Mark Selby v Barry Hawkins: China Open 2018 final preview – Jester and Hawk vie for lucrative crown

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Selby retains the prestigious trophy (credit:Eurosport)

Mark Selby secured a record-equalling third China Open title courtesy of an 11-3 demolition of Barry Hawkins in the final in Beijing on Sunday.

The world number one returned to winning ways following an indifferent start to 2018 as he powered past Hawkins to scoop the lucrative £225,000 top prize.

Selby first claimed this trophy in 2015 before withdrawing from the event in 2016 and regaining the crown a year later, meaning he is now 21 matches unbeaten in this prestigious major.

“I played good match play snooker in the first session and capitalised on the balls that Barry missed,” Selby told World Snooker.

“It’s very satisfying to be able to go out there knowing my game is in good shape. Coming here I didn’t know what to expect, but it couldn’t have gone any better.

“The way I have performed in most of my matches here, playing well and scoring well, my confidence will be high going to Sheffield.”

The damage was effectively done after the first session as Selby stormed into an 8-2 lead, needing just three more frames to seal glory in the evening.

It was Hawkins who took the opening frame with a break of 53 before Selby reeled off the next five with high breaks of 65 and 53.

Hawkins doubled his tally thanks to a break of 75 but back came ‘The Jester’ with consecutive breaks of 90 and 75 en route to an 8-2 advantage.

The three-time World Champion showed no sign of relenting after the restart as he fired in a terrific 112 clearance and followed up with an 83 break to move to within a frame of victory.

Hawkins earned a stay of execution by edging frame 13 on the final pink, but could only delay the inevitable as Selby put the gloss on a memorable success with a classy 132 clearance.

Hawkins was bidding for his first ranking title since last February and admitted: “I’m very disappointed because I played so well yesterday in the semi-finals.

“I didn’t give Mark a game today, I made it so easy for him. I just kept missing easy balls and I don’t know why.

“I was confident going into the match, but as it went on that faded away.”

Selby’s triumph is the 14th world ranking title of his career and marks a perfect preparation for the defence of his Betfred World Championship title later this month.