After a classic final that lasted seven-and-a-half-hours, Englishman Alfie Burden emerged the men’s champion of the ONGC-IBSF World snooker championship with a 59-31, 78-50, 66-1, 0-98, 53-6, 65-102, 81-32, 1-89, 97-33, 19-81, 47-56, 94-0, 69-58, 107-28, 39-49, 60-15, 51-67, 82-26 victory over Igor Figueiredo of Brazil.
At the HICC Hall here on Wednesday night, the 33-year-old Burden seemed to be in a hurry, jumping to a 3-0 lead even before the sparse crowd could settle in.
That was the phase when the 32-year-old Figueiredo — the first Brazilian ever to enter the final of a World snooker event — was clearly under pressure.
But once he got the feel of the big occasion, Figueiredo demonstrated his growing stature with his high quality potting, especially of the long balls.
After a break of 98 in the fourth frame, the Brazilian followed it up with another of 52 in the next frame to reduce the margin. But, Burden was equal to the task, showing his class with a remarkable blend of safety play and potting from seemingly difficult positions. However, it was obvious that as the final progressed that it would be exciting fare as Burden and Figueiredo matched each other.
The decisive phase of the final was when Burden came up with a break of 103 — the only century of the match — in the 14th frame to clinch it 107-28.
That was just the momentum that the Englishman was looking for so desperately. But the Brazilian never really gave up, showing fight. In fact, when the chips were down, it was Burden who showed his emotions while his opponent retained his poise.
No giving up
Figueiredo was in no mood to give up as he fought back gallantly under pressure to take the 15th and 17th frames.
But the final frame was perhaps symbolic of what separated the winner and loser.
Burden started with a useful break of 22 and then slowly built up a lead of 61-14 when he missed a simple blue and committed a foul, leaving the door open for Figueiredo to come back.
But the Latin American’s long potting, which had been his asset so far, seemed to desert him. After that, Burden raised the bar and closed it out to clinch his maiden world title.
“I still do not think that I played my best right through this event. But, I am glad to be the world champion. It is a fantastic achievement…I dedicate this to my parents back home,” an elated Burden said.
“There were many moments when I was on the rack and clearly struggling as Igor played some unbelievable snooker,” he said.
“Definitely, I was under pressure throughout the match and it was a case of fighting for my life.”
Figueiredo said: “I have no regrets, for I lost to a great player whose game was on a different level under pressure.
“For someone who started playing on the big table only a few months back, I believe that I did my country proud with this runner-up position.”
Men: Final: Alfie Burden (Eng) bt Igor Figueiredo (Bra) 59-31, 78-50, 66-1, 0-98, 53-6, 65-102, 81-32, 1-89, 97-33, 19-81, 47-56, 94-0, 69-58, 107-28, 39-49, 60-15, 51-67, 82-26.
Third place: Yu Delu (Chn) bt Philip Williams (Wal) 69-61, 59-37, 56-35, 60-56.