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Mark Selby beats Luca Brecel to end title drought at English Open

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Selby is the reigning champion

Mark Selby ended his title drought by landing the English Open crown after a 9-6 victory over Luca Brecel in the final.

The four-time World champion claimed his first silverware since his latest Crucible triumph 19 months ago in Brentwood on Sunday.

Selby also became the joint-most decorated player in Home Nations history, levelling with Judd Trump on four such victories.

The Jester is also the first to lift the Steve Davis trophy on multiple occasions, having also captured the title in 2019.

“This probably has to go down as the biggest achievement for me,” Selby, who in January revealed his lengthy battle with mental health issues, told Eurosport. “It’s been tough from January trying to get myself back on my feet has not been easy.

“It’s probably been the biggest challenge of my life, so to actually come out and win a tournament is incredible really.”

On the support he received from wife Vikki, he added: “There’s not enough words I can say about her. If it wasn’t for her, I definitely wouldn’t be stood here today, that’s for sure.”

Seeking his 21st ranking event success, Selby made a strong start with breaks of 90, 57, 74 and 52 on the way to establishing a 4-1 lead.

But Championship League winner Brecel, who beat the likes of Judd Trump and Mark Allen to reach his sixth ranking showpiece, responded by winning the next three frames to level at the afternoon session’s conclusion.

Runs of 51 and 61 put the Leicester cueist back in command at 6-4 though his opponent – looking to become sixth multiple champion in the Series – hit back with a stunning 122 clearance.

Selby controlled the next two frames to move to within one of glory before Brecel almost responded with a maximum – breaking down after missing a tricky 15th black – though the contribution of 113 was more than enough to keep his hopes alive.

But the world number three was not to be denied, a lovely break of 87 seeing him over the line.

“I didn’t really play my game,” Brecel said. “The day before the tournament, I was contemplating not even coming here because I was ill. My dad said I’d regret it if I don’t go.

“It’s been a great week. I’d like to say well done to Mark. He’s obviously been through a very tough time off the table. It’s great to see him back. He really deserves it.”