Three-time world champion Mark Selby has crashed out of the 2019 World Snooker Championship after a 13-10 defeat to Gary Wilson on Saturday in Sheffield.
Selby, at number two the highest ranked player left in the tournament after the early demise of Ronnie O’Sullivan, lost the last three frames as Wilson reached the quarter-finals for the first time in his career.
It was a fantastic performance from the 33 year-old from Newcastle, undoubtedly the best since his professional career began 15 years ago.
In 2015, Wilson reached the final of the China Open where his challenge was dismantled by none other than Selby.
Indeed, in five previous attempts the Englishman had never before beaten the former world number one.
Yet, Wilson never shied away from the immense challenge and took the game to the man known as the master of brinkmanship.
Battle hard he did and Selby played pretty well himself for the majority of the contest, but the 35 year-old was simply outplayed in every department by the game’s end.
Most of the opening two sessions centred around the pair’s break-building, with each trading sizeable breaks in blow for blow fashion.
When Wilson surrendered a 5-3 advantage and trailed 7-6 during the middle bout of play, one would have been forgiven for thinking that the match had swung in the more experienced contender’s favour.
However, Wilson replied with an amazing scoring streak of 97, 115, and 78 to regain his two frame cushion overnight.
The beginning of the final session followed a similar trajectory, with Selby bouncing back in trademark fashion to restore parity at 10-10.
Wilson was rarely phased and, with the winning line in sight, even when he did show a few signs of nerves Selby wasn’t able to take advantage.
In fact, the latter’s overall game deserted him at the worst possible moment.
After losing a protracted penultimate frame to fall 12-10 adrift, Selby missed another routine red and rattled his knuckles violently against the table in dismay.
The cool Wilson, a former taxi driver, retorted with a composed break of 92 to seal his berth in the next round.
Wilson’s triumph completely opens up that quarter of the draw with a semi-final spot now guaranteed between either the world number 32, Ali Carter, or Zhou Yuelong.
Should Wilson maintain this kind of form he’ll have just as good of an opportunity as either of the other two to progress and make a debut appearance at the single table set-up.
— Betfred (@Betfred) April 27, 2019
The unseeded Gary Wilson is the second player through to the quarter-finals after Neil Robertson’s 13-6 victory over Shaun Murphy on Friday.
Defending champion Mark Williams has work to do later on day eight when he resumes his fixture with David Gilbert 9-7 down.
Stephen Maguire, by contrast, boasts a two-frame margin against amateur James Cahill in a match that will reach its climax this afternoon.