2024 Masters: Mark Selby Triumphs with Dominant 6-1 Victory

Mark Selby secured a dominant 6-1 victory over Robert Milkins in the 2024 MrQ Masters, showcasing a level of confidence that has eluded him in recent years. The win not only propels him into the next round but also marks a significant milestone as Selby hasn't reached the semi-finals of this competition in nearly a decade. The post-match interview with Selby provided valuable insights into his mindset and the pivotal moments during the encounter.

Snooker player amongst a crowd
Louis Hobbs

Written by: Louis Hobbs

(Senior Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2024-01-11

7 minutes read

Selby’s Snooker Brilliance Shines

In a stellar display of snooker prowess, Mark Selby delivered one of his season's standout performances, dominating Robert Milkins with a commanding 6-1 victory in the opening round of the Masters. The three-time champion at Alexandra Palace showcased his skill with an impressive tally of five breaks surpassing the 50-point mark, culminating in a clinical triumph. This decisive win secures Selby's spot in the quarter-finals, marking only the second time in the past five years that he has reached this stage. His next challenge awaits in the form of Northern Irishman Mark Allen.

Confidence Unleashed

The Jester from Leicester, expressed his confidence before the match, reflecting on his positive mindset leading up to the event. Despite having faced disappointing performances in previous years at the tournament, Selby demonstrated a remarkable ability to leave those setbacks in the past. This time around, he entered the competition with a renewed focus and a heightened level of preparation.

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Yeah, I felt good. I felt good before the match started going out there." He highlighted the unpredictability inherent snooker, emphasising that feeling confident doesn't guarantee success, stating, "But feeling good and confident doesn't mean to say you're going to go on and win the matches.

When asked about his confidence before the match, Selby acknowledged.

The Century Club Incident

The match was not without its fair share of tension, marked by a particular incident that momentarily unsettled the former champion. A disruptive episode unfolded in the Century Club as the sound of shattering glass echoed, causing a brief but noticeable disruption to Mark Selby's focus. This unexpected disturbance led to a temporary lapse in concentration, with Selby humorously recounting, "And just as I'm about to hit the cue ball on the follow-through, somebody drops some knife and fork or something at the top in the Century club, and my head sort of exploded for about 10 seconds."

 

Detailing the pivotal moment within the Century Club, Selby reflected, "Oh yeah, my head blew up for the first time in a long while." Despite maintaining a lead, he now confronted a challenging shot along the black cushion. This unforeseen event had the potential to alter the momentum of the game, presenting a scenario where focus and composure could be the deciding factors.

 

However, demonstrating remarkable poise under pressure, Selby managed to keep his composure and navigate through the distraction. Rather than allowing the uncommon incident to dictate the course of the game, Selby maintained his mental resilience and successfully saw the match through to its conclusion.

A Decade-Long Semi-Final Drought

Reflecting on his overall performance and contemplating the upcoming rounds, Mark Selby conveyed a grounded and pragmatic perspective. "Yeah, I mean as long as I'm happy with what I'm doing, that's all I can ask for," he remarked with a sense of assurance. The seasoned snooker maestro underlined a crucial point – the inability to control the performances of fellow players. 

 

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As he peered into the prospect of the final eight, Selby's focus remained steadfastly on his individual game plan. "I can't control anybody else's performances and what they're doing, so I'm happy with the way I'm playing, confident with the way I'm playing, and that's all I can ask for," he affirmed. This statement encapsulated Selby's commitment to maintaining control over his own performance, refusing to be swayed by external variables.

 

Looking forward, there was a palpable sense of determination in Selby's approach as he eyed the possibility of reaching the semi-finals – a feat that has eluded him in this tournament for almost a decade. The prospect of returning to the semi-final stage after such a significant period showcased Selby's enduring skill and his ability to evolve with the game. His measured confidence suggested a belief not just in his current form but also in the strategic adjustments he has made over the years.

Balancing Watchfulness and Practice

As the interview concluded, Selby revealed his preparations for the next match on Friday night. "I'll probably watch a little bit. I'll watch Barry [Hawkins] tomorrow. I'm good friends with Barry. It'd be a good game, him and Ronnie," he mentioned. This strategic approach, combined with a commitment to practice and ample rest, underlines Selby's dedication to maintaining his top form in the tournament.

 

Mark Selby's resounding victory over Robert Milkins not only signals a triumphant return to form but also positions him as a formidable contender in the later stages of the Masters, marking a significant chapter in his snooker journey.

 

Image credit: World Snooker Tour (WST)

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Louis Hobbs

Louis Hobbs

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.

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