Selby feared humiliating defeat against Higgins

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Mark Selby admits he feared he was heading for a humiliating defeat to John Higgins before storming back to retain his World Snooker Championship title.

Selby trailed Higgins 10-4 on Sunday but strung together three frame victories to close out the day and trail 10-7 overnight.

The world number one carried that momentum into Monday and eventually came away with an 18-15 victory, holding off a late mini-revival from Higgins to clinch his third Crucible crown in four years.

"At 10-4 yesterday I was thinking to myself there was no way in the world I was going to come back from that," he said.

"I just thought I'll go in fighting, try to make it respectful and at one stage I thought I could lose with a session to spare.

"I thought, 'get your act together, try to find something from within and if you nick a couple of frames then who knows?'

"To get out at 10-7, I felt like I was 10-7 in front to be honest.

"I think I was trying too hard, and the harder I tried the worse it got.

"I managed to nick those three frames and win them in good style as well. I think that gave me a bit of confidence and John probably went to bed thinking he'd let one go."

One incident in the 31st frame threatened to derail Selby's concentration, as a roll up to the black was called as a foul by referee Jan Verhaas, who felt the cue ball failed to make contact - an opinion at odds with Selby's own view.

"I could have sworn the black moved a little bit, but obviously Jan said it didn't," he added. "I looked over at [TV analysts and former champions] John Parrott and Steve Davis - first impression said to me yes, and then they had a look again and they said they weren't sure.

"But obviously the ref's decision is final and what he says you have to go with. I think Jan's probably the best ref we have in the game, I respect his decision.

"It was tough to take but I thought to myself, 'I was 10-4 down yesterday and I'd have taken 16-15 in front. I can't let it affect me.'

"At the end of the day, I'm in the world final and I'm still in front, so I went to the toilet, forgot about it and came back again."

Selby becomes only the fourth man to win successive titles at the Crucible, after Davis, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan.