Mark Selby held off numerous fight backs by qualifier Ding Junhui to seal the 2016 World Championship with an 18-14 victory at the Crucible.
A tight and tense afternoon session
Trailing 10-7 from the opening day of action, Ding Junhui struck first as a break of 89 capitalised on two missed pots by Mark Selby. The pride of China then came from behind to steal frame 19 as he claimed victory on the final black.
Yet as has been the trend for the final, Selby almost seemed to be taunting Ding by knocking back his reply with some fantastic snooker of his own. Despite struggling in the first two frames of the day, Selby knocked in a 126 break to restore a cushion between the two finalists. Though that two frame lead was short lived, as Ding made 103 in frame 21 to pull the deficit back to one.
Ding had a chance to level the match straight after the interval, only to make two mistakes that allowed Selby to go 12-10 ahead with a break of 66. Two extensions of the cue for one shot set Selby on his way to a break of 68 as he restored the three frame lead he began the day with. Ding struck back with a break of 52 and a rare moment of luck as Selby suffered a kick on the pink. Though the world number one made the score 14-11 at the end of the session, with a break of 55 helping him on his way.
Selby seals the crown
Ding knew he had to make a winning start to the final session to have any hope of winning the title, though Selby soon dented those hopes as breaks of 55 and 46 took him straight into top gear. Ding looked favourite at one point in frame 27 after a break of 60, but a couple of errors allowed Selby in who took full advantage to make the score 16-11. Though Ding had not given up and breaks of 73 and 70 before the mid-session interval ensured he was still in the tie at the break with the score 16-13.
Ding continued the fight after the mid-session interval as a 103 break took him to just two frames behind and the number of tournament centuries to 86, equalling the record set last year. Both players made a string of errors in frame 31, but Selby eventually pounced after a long tactical battle to go within one frame of his second world title.
Mark Selby went on to win the World Championship in style as he produced a break of 75 in the final frame. Ding Junhui will clearly be disappointed and deflated but can hold his head high after a terrific campaign that began four weeks ago during qualifying. Though the night and the year belongs to Mark Selby who made amends for a previously lacklustre season, winning his second title just minutes after his beloved Leicester City won their first Premier League title.