Mark Selby clambered back to the snooker summit by sinking Shaun Murphy 18-15 to win his fourth world title at a raucous Crucible.
Selby held off a stirring fightback from his opponent in the final session to join John Higgins as a four-time champion, punching the air after sinking the final black under immense pressure.
The 37-year-old had endured a torrid time after winning his previous crown in 2017, crashing out in the first round as defending champion and surrendering his status as world number one after going over two and a half years without a British-based ranking title.
Mark Selby held off a stirring fightback from his opponent in the final session to take the titleInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
But talk of the Leicester man's demise proved premature as he chiselled his way back towards the top, culminating in a dazzling return to top form this fortnight, in which he lost just 11 frames over his first three matches.
Selby strode out for the final session with a 14-11 advantage, but well aware of the danger posed by Murphy, who had roared into the final in the kind of free-flowing form that evoked memories of his charge to the title as a fresh-faced qualifier in 2005.
By his own admission, Murphy had endured a dismal season under lockdown, complicated by travel restrictions from his home in Ireland, and conceded he had been as surprised as anyone to rediscover his game on the biggest stage.
He clambered back to the summit by sinking Shaun Murphy 18-15 to win his fourth world title
But despite responding with back-to-back centuries when Selby stood one frame from victory, it proved to be a case of what might have been for Murphy, who missed two earlier opportunities to cut Selby's advantage to a single frame.
Resuming 10-7 behind on the final day, Murphy won the opener but left the black dangling over the pocket in the next, hastening what appeared to be the decisive move from Selby, who responded with the first century of the final as he went on to stretch his advantage to four frames.
But just as in his semi-final, when he reeled off the last eight frames to beat Kyren