Mark Selby held off a spirited showing from Martin Gould, beating 'The Pinner Potter' 9-8 to win the first ranking title of the 2020/21 season.

Runs of 130, 96, 59, 56, 113 and 72 were enough for Selby to hold off the talented, heavy-scoring former German Masters winner, who put together breaks of 70, 131, 94, 65, 107 and 96 in a high-quality final.

Snooker
Ronnie O'Sullivan: 'Marcus Rashford has run rings around government, they’ve got it badly wrong’
A DAY AGO

"I'm delighted. I thought it was a good final from start to finish and had I lost I'd have had no complaints," said Selby after the final.

"From being 4-0 down Martin played fantastically well to get back into the match and after that it was nip-and-tuck. It could have gone either way."

Best shots from Selby in European Masters final

The three-time world champion appeared to be cruising towards an 18th ranking title having opened up a four-frame advantage in the afternoon session.

However, Gould, who beat John Higgins and Judd Trump on his way to the final, fought back, reeling off the next four to send the match to the evening session finely poised at 4-4.

A heavy-scoring evening session – with seven 50+ breaks in the nine evening frames - saw neither player able to etch out more than a one-frame advantage on a tense night of action on the baize, sending the match to a final-frame decider at 8-8.

And it was Selby who held his nerve, constructing a 72 to secure the 18th ranking title of his career after Gould had missed attempting a difficult red to the green pocket.

The win moves Selby to joint sixth on the all-time list alongside Neil Robertson, and comes after a examining week for the world number four.

'The Jester from Leicester' had two walkovers - against Michael White and Mark Davis - in the first three rounds and was 4-1 down to Stuart Bingham in the fourth. However, from there the 37-year-old eased past Ding Junhui and Shaun Murphy before holding off Gould in an absorbing final.

The revitalised Gould will jump from 53 to 36 in the world rankings after his outstanding performance only two months after he considered quitting the sport due to his battle with depression.

Championship League
Selby progresses to last eight, but Murphy hopes ended by Zhou
YESTERDAY AT 22:21
Champion of Champions
Who do Ronnie O'Sullivan, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson face at the Champion of Champions?
YESTERDAY AT 16:08