Mark Selby beat World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan 9-3 in the final of Matchroom.Live Scottish Open to capture the title for a second consecutive year.
The win sees world number four Selby secure the £70,000 top prize and the Stephen Hendry Trophy. The Jester from Leicester remains undefeated in the Scottish Open, having won the title in his first appearance in the event last year. Selby defeated Jack Lisowski 9-6 in the final 12 months ago.
He has now won his last 11 consecutive ranking event finals, a run which stretches back to the 2016 Shanghai Masters. That equals a record set by Hendry.
This victory avenges a gut-wrenching 17-16 World Championship semi-final defeat to O’Sullivan in August. O’Sullivan remains ahead of Selby in head-to-head meetings, leading 16-11.
Selby has now amassed 19 ranking titles, drawing him level with Neil Robertson and Judd Trump in sixth position on the all-time list.
O’Sullivan, yet to win a title since conquering the Crucible four months ago, was outplayed throughout the day and suffered his heaviest defeat in a ranking event final since the 2005 Grand Prix when he lost 9-2 to John Higgins.
Selby established a commanding 6-2 lead during the first session. When they returned, the 37-year-old showed no sign of relinquishing his hold on the match. Selby fired in breaks of 78 and 51 in the first frame of the night, extending his advantage to 7-2.
O’Sullivan kept himself in contention by claiming the tenth frame, but a run of 61 helped Selby to come from behind and take the 11th to move one from victory. In frame 12, O’Sullivan potted eight reds with blacks but then missed a routine red on 64, opening the door for Selby, who ruthlessly crafted a run of 74 to secure victory.
“To win any tournament is fantastic, but when you are going back as defending champion, it is always nice to try and win it again,” said three-time Crucible king Selby after winning his second ranking title of the season. “You never want to go out early as a defending champion. Thankfully for me, I’ve managed to come here and do a good job.
“It is fantastic to equal Stephen Hendry’s record for consecutive wins in finals. He is one of the all-time greats and was one of the players I looked up to as a young lad growing up. To equal a record of his is amazing. I had a phase many years ago when I was getting to ranking finals and not converting them into wins. Now it is going the other way.
“I am a perfectionist and if I’m not doing something right, then I get down on myself. I’m always striving to get better. I’m not getting any younger, but as long as you are healthy then you can try to improve. That’s what I’m aiming for so I will still be back on the practice table tomorrow working hard for the World Grand Prix.”
O’Sullivan said: “That’s just the way snooker goes sometimes. Some days you are the bug and some days you are the windscreen. Today I was the bug.
“It has been a tough week, apart from the first round where I was pretty flawless. From that moment onwards I’ve had tip problems and it was like I was on a slide downwards, rather than one going upwards. Each match got worse and worse. It is really hard to turn that around.”