Mark Selby is looking to claim the English Open title for the second time in his career when he goes up against Luca Brecel in Sunday’s final in Brentwood, Essex.
Selby came through a tense semi-final tie with Neil Robertson on Saturday, winning 6-4, while Brecel, who has never previously made it to the final at this event, eased to a 6-2 victory over Mark Allen, who had won the Northern Ireland Open and UK Championship earlier this year.
Each of the last five meetings between Selby and Brecel have gone the way of the Englishman but they have not crossed paths since the Champion of Champions series in 2020.
English Open Final Tips
Frame 1 winner – Luca Brecel @ EVS
Selby has yet to claim a ranking title in 2022, with his last success coming in May 2021 when he defeated Shaun Murphy to win the World Snooker Championship for the fourth time.
But the Jester from Leicester looks well placed, priced at 1/2, to end that drought when he takes on Brecel in Sunday’s showpiece.
The jump up from best-of-11, which decided the semi-finals, to best-of-17 is likely to favour Selby and he can use his vast experience at this level to pull through.
He has been a slow starter in his last two matches in Brentwood, falling 3-1 behind before fighting back to beat Robertson and Ali Carter.
That suggests Brecel has the opportunity to get on the board early as he has done consistently at the competition so far.
Indeed, Brecel has won the first frame in all but one of his six fixtures and he will be eager to try and lay down an early marker in the final.
Over 14 frames @ 8/11
It looks like we could be set for a long and tense finale to the English Open between two players who both have plenty to offer.
Selby won his first ranking tournament in 2003, beating David Gray to claim the Scottish Open, and, nearly 20 years on, he is looking to add a 21st ranking title to his collection.
Brecel, meanwhile, has just three ranking titles to his name, having lost a further two finals, but the 27-year-old should not be underestimated in this final.
The Belgian has come out of the traps quickly at this event and he has proven his worth with stunning victories over Mark Allen and Judd Trump.
Do not expect Brecel to show too much respect to his perhaps more illustrious rival and Selby will have to work hard to ensure he gets the job done.
The longer format should play to Selby’s grinding qualities and backing over 14 frames looks an attractive route to go down.
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