For some time it regarded as if Marco Fu may gatecrash the social gathering, however in the long run the Betway UK Championship has received one of many finals that many neutrals would have wished within the form of Ronnie O’Sullivan in opposition to Mark Selby.

Simply wanting on the two names whets the urge for food for a long-distance contest over the very best of 19 frames for the £170,000 first prize at York’s Barbican Centre at the moment – and serves as a reminder of a few of their earlier high-profile clashes.

Though O’Sullivan, going for a record-equalling sixth UK title to match Steve Davis, claimed that he was “the underdog” on Saturday evening, the bookmakers disagree – however not by a lot. The sheer weight of cash O’Sullivan all the time attracts might be the rationale for him being a marginal favorite.

However Selby, who has the sting on his rival in general finals and likewise the most important ones, has the possibility to stamp some extra authority each on O’Sullivan and the game usually after being world No1 for 94 weeks in a row.

John Higgins might have been successful the large invitational event cash within the final month, however the 33-year-old Selby has now been prime of the rankings for almost two years and already appears more likely to keep there till the World Championship. Victory would solely make that extra possible.

O’Sullivan defends an astonishing 100 per cent document in UK finals having received 5 from 5, the primary coming in 1993 as a 17-year-old. However it was Selby who ended an analogous world remaining document for the Rocket on the Crucible two years in the past. And there have additionally been massive wins for the Leicester Jester in a Masters remaining, and a Welsh Open showpiece.

There has unquestionably been needle between the pair up to now, created partly by a conflict of types, and O’Sullivan commenting on this in lower than flattering phrases about Selby’s play – notably in his autobiography when he branded his rival ‘The Torturer’.

However very like within the case of an analogous stand-off with Stephen Hendry a few years in the past, O’Sullivan insists that the connection has thawed following plenty of joint exhibitions and excursions overseas, when it’s exhausting for 2 gamers to not spend a deal of time collectively.

O’Sullivan dropped as many frames in opposition to Fu as he had within the earlier 5 matches, and was in reality fortunate to win by means of, the Hong Kong participant blowing a fantastic likelihood to wrap up victory at 6-4 earlier than lacking a significant inexperienced and seeing the Rocket mop up with 130 within the decider.

However each O’Sullivan and Selby are chasing historical past at the moment. Whereas O’Sullivan tries to equal one among boyhood hero Steve Davis’s marks and likewise declare a twenty ninth rating title that may edge him forward of the Nugget and John Higgins, Selby additionally has targets.

He can develop into the primary participant for 15 years to win the world and UK titles in the identical calendar 12 months, one thing finished solely by Davis, Stephen Hendry, O’Sullivan, John Higgins and John Parrott. And a equally small group have received every of the large three on two or extra events.

It guarantees to a fantastic remaining and contest – up to now such showpiece events between the pair have not often upset.


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