Mark Selby is just two frames away from winning the 19.com English Open as he leads David Gilbert 7-1 after the first session of the final.
Selby has controlled the best-of-17 final so far in Crawley and looks to be closing in on his first Home Nations title. The match resumes at 7pm with first to nine frames to take the £70,000 top prize and the Steve Davis Trophy.
Leicester’s 36-year-old Selby is aiming to win his 16th ranking title and first since the 2018 China Championship. His hasn’t won a title on UK soil since landing his third World Championship crown in 2017.
The world number five has a formidable record in ranking finals in recent years, having won 12 of his last 13.
That stat will give little encouragement to Gilbert, especially as he needs eight of the last nine frames tonight to win his first ranking title.
He has lost his three previous finals – against John Higgins at the 2015 International Championship, Mark Williams at the 2018 Yushan World Open and Kyren Wilson at the 2019 German Masters.
The 38-year-old from Tamworth is sure to pass the £1 million mark for career earnings today but that will be little consolation if he can’t launch a fight back in the concluding session.
World number 12 Gilbert scored just 14 points in the first four frames as Selby rattled in breaks of 88, 68, 79 and 85. Frame five came down to a safety battle on the last red, Selby trapping his opponent in a snooker and clearing up from the chance that followed to go 5-0 ahead.
Gilbert got off the mark in the next in some style with a break of 101. But Selby responded with 130 and 97 to take the last two frames of the session.