Mark Selby completes comeback to claim third Crucible title

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Mark Selby produced one of sport's greatest comebacks tonight to retain his Betfred World Championship title.

Mark Selby won his third world snooker championship (and his second successive title) by defeating four-times champion John Higgins over two-days.

By pocketing the £375,000 winner's cheque, the "Jester from Leicester" smashes the record for the most money earned in a single season.

On being crowned champion, Selby said: "I can't believe it, I am still pinching myself now". When I was 10-4 down yesterday I thought there's no way in the world I was going to come back from that, I was trying to make it respectable. He outplayed me yesterday.

"I still think I can come back here and do well; I wouldn't write myself off yet", he said. It can get a little bit embarrassing but I have enough experience to know it is just a bad day at the office.

"I decided if I was going to lose I'd go down fighting". But he won 12 of the next 14 before withstanding controversy and the Scot's late fightback to become just the fourth man after Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan to defend his title here in Sheffield.

With the tension tighter than Pep Guardiola's pants, the Betfred World Snooker championship finally came to a conclusion just after 11pm, when Mark Selby sank the final red, clenched his fists and became only the fourth man in history to retain the title.

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Then in the final frame before the break it had seemed as if Higgins had it all wrapped up but he missed a couple of pots and all of a sudden an epic safety battle unfolded, with Selby producing a sensational pot on the red.

But, holding a healthy lead in that frame, Selby attempted to tuck Higgins up behind the black, only for referee Jan Verhaas to rule that the cueball had come up short.

The pair resumed Sunday evening, with Selby needing five more frames to win his third Crucible crown. My game was all over the place, missing ball after ball, making it easy for John. With a video replay proving inconclusive, a surprised Selby was left to accept the initial decision and let the frame swing in the favour of Higgins.

Higgins, a four-time victor at the Crucible, had his opponent on the ropes during the first day's play and rallied in the second, but in the end the indomitable force that is Selby proved too much for the 41-year-old.

Higgins won a runner-up prize of 160,000 pounds and moved up to number two in world rankings.

That experience - he made his Crucible debut in 1995 - was vital as he returned composed, free of the earlier shackles, to win the next three frames - thanks to breaks of 88, 111 and a gritty 43 - to cut the gap to 16-15.