Four-time world champion Selby crashes out to debutant O’Connor

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Four-time world champion Selby crashes out to debutant O’Connor

Four-time world snooker champion Mark Selby beaten 10-6 by debutant Joe O’Connor at the Crucible Theatre; Selby’s hometown rival O’Connor is the only debutant at this year’s event after coming through qualifying

Last Updated: 22/04/24 6:08pm

Mark Selby was knocked out of this year's World Snooker Championship by Joe O'Connor (right)

Mark Selby was knocked out of this year’s World Snooker Championship by Joe O’Connor (right)

Four-time world snooker champion Mark Selby suffered a shock first-round defeat to debutant Joe O’Connor at the Crucible Theatre on Monday.

Selby, who questioned his future in the sport after losing to Gary Wilson in the Tour Championship earlier this month, went down to a 10-6 defeat to fellow Leicestershire star O’Connor having trailed 7-2 after the Sunday morning session.

The 28-year-old will battle either No 12 seed Kyren Wilson or Dominic Dale in round two.

Shaun Murphy began his quest for a second world title in style as he cruised his way into the second round with a 10-5 victory over Lyu Haotian.

Murphy started the session with a 6-3 lead and was looking to carry on where he left off when he punished China’s Haotian from 38 points behind to pinch the opening frame to extend his advantage to four.

Murphy secured the next to make it five consecutive frames but Haotian won two out of the next three to extend the tie slightly.

A relaxed Murphy did not sweat and – with the 2005 world champion just needing a solitary frame for the win – he wrapped it up in style with a break of 81 to put himself into the second round of the tournament for the first time since 2021.

Murphy springs to defence of Crucible after ‘smelly’ comments

Shaun Murphy has accused rival Hossein Vafaei of'sacrilege' after the Iranian launched a scathing attack on the conditions at the Crucible Theatre

Shaun Murphy has accused rival Hossein Vafaei of’sacrilege’ after the Iranian launched a scathing attack on the conditions at the Crucible Theatre

Murphy described criticism of snooker’s fabled Crucible as sacrilege after Iran’s Hossein Vafaei described it as “smelly”.

The start of this year’s tournament has been overshadowed by verbal pot shots at the iconic venue that has hosted the tournament since 1977.

Responding to Vafaei’s comments, 2005 champion Murphy said: “This is holy ground. It’s almost sacrilege for a professional snooker player to be so openly critical of our home.

“Hossein should educate himself on how our tour works in relationships with the WST and our broadcast partners, and what a special place this is.

“Does he think he is helping our sport grow by being so openly critical of one of our biggest partners? He has not helped the sport at all.”

Stuart Bingham stormed into an impressive three-frame lead to give him a healthy advantage at the end of the first session, leading Gary Wilson 6-3.

Ronnie O'Sullivan says if the World Snooker Championship was relocated to Saudi Arabia then he would find the tournament more convenient as a player

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Ronnie O’Sullivan says if the World Snooker Championship was relocated to Saudi Arabia then he would find the tournament more convenient as a player

Ronnie O’Sullivan says if the World Snooker Championship was relocated to Saudi Arabia then he would find the tournament more convenient as a player

The WST recently signed a deal to step up promotion of the game in Saudi Arabia, and next year’s second World Masters of Snooker event will offer a $1m (£810,000) jackpot for any player capable of potting a special golden ball after a maximum break.

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