Defending champion Mark Selby crashed out of the tournament tonight,going down 13-9 to Anthony McGill in as big a shock result as we've seen here in a long time to prove the Crucible curse for first time returning champions remains alive and well.
These two played out a highly entertaining first session yesterday which ended level at 4-4,but it was McGill who started the better this morning.taking three of the first four to lead 7-5 at the interval.A run of 83 from Selby closed him within one again at 7-6,but McGill dominated the next three frames to end the session 10-6.
So the question going into the final session was could the young Scot playing at the Crucible this year for the first time finish off the job or would Selby do,well a "Selby" and dig himself out of trouble. With all this in mind the first frame was always going to be crucial and it was Selby who made the early running with a series of great shots,only to carelessly run out of position when among the balls. From here McGill produced as magnificent a break 68 as you could see under pressure to go 11-6.
A 67 in the next closed Selby to 11-7,but another immaculate break,this time a 87,from McGill moved him th the hill at 12-7. Selby is a fighter though and he pulled the next two back to keep his faint hopes alive at 12-9.The problem for him though was that no matter what he did McGill was always at some stage going to get a chance to win it and he was playing too well to let it slip by if it came.Thats what happened in the next as McGill closed out a famous victory with a run of 82 and seal his 13-9 win.
The biggest victory of his career so far then for McGill and I think what will have impressed people the most was the way he looked around the table,always comfortable,smiling and actually seeming to be enjoying what he was doing.Add to this undoubted ability and I think we can be sure,regardless of how the rest of this tournament goes,that here is a young man who we will be hearing quite a lot of.
For Selby,he will feel disappointed that he couldn't put up a better defence of his title,but this has been on the whole a disappointing season for him.I know that sounds strange to say of someone who won two ranking titles,but on closer examination how well did he play to win those? He now has a couple of months to reflect on things and I'm sure next season he will be back to the tough a granite Selby we are used too.
In other action today DIng Junhui has completely turned things around against John Higgins to hold a 9-7 lead going into their final session in the morning having started this afternoon 5-3 down. Higgins will no doubt be regretting not taking control of this game last night when he lead 5-1 and he will be even more frustrated by the number of unforced errors he produced this afternoon.He is a four time champion here though and if he can find his game in the morning we could be in for a grandstand finish to this one.
Another Scot in much graver trouble is Graeme Dott,who must somehow find his very best form if he is to trouble Stuart Bingham here as he trails the Englishman 11-5 overnight.
Also in the early stages of their second round encounter re Mark Allen & Barry Hawkins with the Ulsterman holding a 5-3 lead after the early skirmishes,
The day though belongs to Anthony McGill.Well done young man.