Today, the two top players in the world on current form will meet in the 2008 Welsh Open Final. Provisionally, Ronnie O'Sullivan is ranked 1, and Mark Selby 3, but at the end of this event, Selby is certain to rise to 2.

Neither player has been dominant in this event however. O'Sullivan struggled against Allister Carter and Steve Davis, whereas Selby struggled against Stephen Hendry. Generally speaking, Selby has shown the better form, but O'Sullivan, who had cue tip troubles earlier in the week, appears to have hit form at the right time, as he beat Shaun Murphy 6-3 last night in the Semi Final, making a high break 143 in the clinching frame.

The two players styles are in contrast to one another. O'Sullivan is the most naturally gifted player in the history of the game, and can play with both hands. His aggression makes him likely to clear the table at any time in a match. Selby is a solid matchplayer, but has recently been scoring better than anyone else once he gets the chance. Whilst Ronnie dominates with his attack, he too is more than capable in defence.

O'Sullivan has had more than a decade at the top of snooker, whereas Selby only arrived there in 2007, when he reached the Final of the World Championship. O'Sullivan has the experience in these situations, his two World Titles in 2001 and 2004 and 18 ranking event victories are in stark contrast to Selby's none. However, Selby won The Masters in January, and performed well at last week's Malta Cup, a tournament O'Sullivan did not enter.

Last Meeting

2007 UK Championship: Ronnie O'Sullivan beat Mark Selby 9-8 (O'Sullivan made a maximum 147 in the decider).

Tale of the Tape

Ronnie O'Sullivan Mark Selby
32 Age 24
5 World Ranking 11
1 Provisional Ranking 3
2 World Champion 0
19 Ranking Event Victories 0
 £5,161,560  Career Prize Money  £372,4250 
147 Highest Break 141
1992 Turned Pro 1999

Road to the Final

Round Ronnie O'Sullivan Mark Selby
Round 1 Bye Bye
Round 2 Template:Flagicon Judd Trump 5-3 Template:Flagicon Dave Harold 5-2
Round 3 Template:Flagicon Steve Davis 5-3 Template:Flagicon Ken Doherty 5-2
Quarter Finals Template:Flagicon Allister Carter 5-4 Template:Flagicon John Higgins 5-2
Semi Finals Template:Flagicon Shaun Murphy 6-3 Template:Flagicon Stephen Hendry 6-4

The Verdict

This is impossible to call, but it should be a very entertaining 17 frame match today. The first 8 frames in the afternoon will be really important, as Selby will need to settle. If O'Sullivan gets a run, he could dominate, as he did in November, when he beat Stephen Maguire in the UK Final.

I can see it going down to the wire.

Prediction: O'Sullivan to win 9-8

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