Mark Selby reached his first ranking final of the season by beating Stephen Maguire 6-2 at the Kreativ Dental German Masters.
It has been a quiet season for World Champion Selby so far – his only title coming at the Riga Open European Tour event back in August – but he now has the chance to land the fifth full ranking crown of his career when he takes on Shaun Murphy tomorrow in Berlin. First to nine frames at the Tempodrom will take home the trophy and 80,000 Euros.
Selby’s expectations may have been low this week having reached the final of a pool event in China before flying straight to Germany. Battling jet-lag, he ground out a 5-4 first round win against Anthony McGill and has gathered momentum as the tournament has progressed. Now he faces old friend Murphy with the chance to win the German Masters for the first time. The two met in the 2012 UK Championship final, Selby winning 10-6, and the 2014 Haikou World Open final, when Murphy triumphed by the same scoreline.
Selby stormed into a 3-0 lead tonight with breaks of 68, 94 and 73. Maguire took the next with a 74 but could not place a firm foothold in the match as Selby pulled away after the interval, runs of 55 and 89 making it 5-1. Frame seven went Maguire’s way but there was to be no fight-back. Selby took control of the eighth with a break of 56, and when Maguire missed a long pot on the third last red, it proved his final shot.
“I have played better match by match this week,” said Selby, who lost to Mark Williams in the 2011 Berlin final. “When I got chances tonight I took them. Shaun is the best player on tour at the moment and full of confidence. I need to play as well as I did tonight to stand a chance. I have grown up with Shaun and if I’m not in a tournament I always want him to do well. Tomorrow friendship will go out of the window and whoever plays best will win. The atmosphere in the final here in 2011 was electric and I’m sure it will be the same tomorrow.”