Mark Selby defends his International Championship title to win his first silverware of the season

Mark Selby defends his International Championship title to win his first silverware of the season

The World number one has now picked up 13 ranking titles.

Chris Lincoln

After a slow start to the season, World number one Mark Selby has won his first competition since winning the World Championship at the end of last season.

Selby defeated Mark Allen 10-7 in the International Championship to defend the title he won in 2016.

Comfortable semi-finals for both finalists

Selby had quietly progressed through the opening rounds of the week without setting the table alight with form. Yet he began to find his range in the semi-finals against Martin Gould.

After losing the first frame, Selby won eight successive frames and formulated breaks of 119 and 127 in the process. With just one more success required, Gould delayed the inevitable with two frames in a row, including one he took on the final black, before Selby sealed a 9-3 victory.

Mark Allen also progressed comfortably after seeing off 17-year old Yan Bingtao who was playing in his first ranking semi-final after an impressive week. Allen won the first four frames before Bingtao hit back with two of his own. However, the Northern Irishman went on to win five more in a row, winning the contest 9-3 and contributing breaks over 50 in all but one of those frames.

Embed from Getty Images

Allen comeback thwarted by tactically astute Selby

With both players appearing to be in good form, a thrilling final was expected and it did not disappoint. Allen was manufacturing the greater breaks in the first session, making a 110 and 137, but could not compete tactically as Selby went into the interval with a 6-3 advantage after six breaks between 50 and 67.

The best of 19 contest looked to be pretty much over within the first two frames of the afternoon session. Selby took them both to storm 8-3 ahead but Allen bounced back with four of the next five. Yet Selby held firm in frame 17 to wrap up a 10-7 win and his 13th ranking title.