Newly crowned World Champion Safuan Said
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Newly crowned World Champion Safuan Said has been eliminated at the penultimate stage of the ABN AMRO Australian Open.
During this morning’s second semi-final, the Malaysian superstar appeared on track to play Mark Casey in the championship decider, before Leif Selby staged a stunning comeback.
With the memory of his loss to Russell Meyer in the 2006 final spurring him on, Selby came back from the dead as he pinched the match 3-1 in the resulting tie-break.
“I haven’t forgotten about that loss,” Selby said following his victory.
“A few people have reminded me about it this week.
“Mark and I are good friends, but we’re going to go out there (this afternoon) and give it all we’ve got.”
After claiming the opening three shots of the match, Selby fell behind on the third end as Said claimed a full count of four to assume the lead, which he wouldn’t surrender.
A double on the fifth end, followed by successive singles, blew the opening set wide open as the tournament’s number two seed raced through to take the set 11-6.
During the second set, Said looked on track to claim a comfortable victory as he assumed a 4-1 lead through four ends before momentum shifted.
Seizing control of the mat, Selby secured successive singles to close the margin as the World Champion played some unusual shots, which left most of the crowd scratching their heads.
Nonetheless, he still held a 6-4 lead with one end to play before Selby pulled off the impossible.
After positioning his opening bowl next to the jack, he drew two with his second shot and three with his next, but Said was unable to kill the jack.
As a result, a cut-throat tie-breaker was needed, with the Australian squad member eventually prevailing.
Selby will now play Casey in the final of the ABN AMRO Australian Open at 4pm today, with the winner assured of going to the top of the 2008 rankings.