Mark Selby beat fellow Englishman Shaun Murphy to SLOT claim a fourth world snooker title on Monday (May 3) as a capacity crowd was allowed at a British sporting event for the first time in more than a year.
Selby, nicknamed the Jester from Leicester, held his nerve in a tense evening session to triumph 18-15 and claim the title for the first time since 2017.
The 37-year-old led 10-7 after Sunday's first two sessions but Murphy won Monday's opening frame and came agonisingly close to making it 10-9 when a final black failed to from in frame 19.
Selby potted the black to lead 11-8 and looked comfortable as he moved 17-13 ahead.
But with the almost 1,000 fans, all wearing face coverings, desperate to witness some late drama Murphy made consecutive century breaks to close to within two frames.
Murphy, who won the 2005 title as a 150-1 qualifier, looked poised to narrow the gap to one frame but he narrowly missed a crucial last red and Selby pounced to make a winning clearance and take the title.
"To win it four times is something I could only have dreamed of," Selby said. "I thought Shaun played fantastic all the way through the match. He's a great, great player, a great ambassador for the game."
Murphy said playing in front of a capacity crowd at snooker's iconic venue had been extra special.
"Sport is nothing without fans and we've been thrilled to have everyone back and a full house tonight," he said.
The Bank Holiday finale was a significant moment for British sport as a capacity crowd was allowed inside an arena for the first time in more than a year since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.