MARK Selby warmed up for his world title defence in the grand manner on Sunday night by claiming a first China Open title.
The world No1 easily beat Tyneside’s Gary Wilson 10-2 at the University Gymnasium in Beijing to pocket the £85,000 first prize.
Leicester’s Selby, 31, became the first player this season to win more than one ranking title - following his German Masters success in February.
And the world champion, who starts his campaign in Sheffield in under two weeks’ time, made up for two recent final losses at the China Open.
Selby took full advantage of a draw that meant he lifted the trophy, earning a sixth ranking title, without having to face another top-16 player.
But few could have lived with him in the final, which saw Selby rattle in a tournament-high break of 145 as well as a 136.
It was all a blur for Wilson in his first major final, after the former cabbie had stunned the home fans beating local hero Ding Junhui in the semi-final.
Selby said: “I am really pleased – I have lost a couple of finals here in Beijing recently so to win it for the first time is a great feeling.
“And I couldn’t now be heading to the Crucible with more confidence after winning matches and the title here this week.
“I have lost a lot of finals to top players – but what you are seeing, with Gary here and Ben Woollaston in Wales, is that the danger at events can come from outside the top 16.”
Wilson, now heading in to the Crucible qualifiers, said: “I am very disappointed with the way I played in the final, I played a lot of bad shots that cost me frames.
“I know I should be leaving here with a lot of positives to take overall, so the challenge for me is to get myself up for the very important Crucible qualifiers now this week."
Photograph courtesy of World Snooker