World number one Mark Selby warmed up for the World Snooker Championship 2017 in fine style with victory over Mark Williams in the China Open final.
It was Selby’s fourth ranking tournament victory of the season – cementing his place at the top of the rankings and forcing bookmakers to trim his odds for a successful title defence at the Crucible to 9/2.
Some firms still make Judd Trump, who won the recent Players Championship in Llandudno, the tournament favourite, with Stan James as short as 10/3 – while pushing Ronnie O’Sullivan out to 6/1.
For Williams the close 10-8 defeat to Selby in Beijing was a blow on two fronts as it also means he misses out on automatic qualification for the World Championship.
Victory would have pushed him into the top 16 at the expense of his compatriot Ryan Day, but he must now win three best-of-19 qualifying matches at Pond’s Forge next week to earn a place in the 32-man draw for the Crucible later this month.
While some firms have cut his price based on his run to final in China, Betfred have pushed him out to 80/1 on account of this more difficult route to the Crucible.