Mark Selby's reign as World Snooker Champion came to a shuddering end last night, as the Scotsman Anthony McGill defeated him 13-9 in the 2nd round. The number one ranked seed had been expected to go close again this year at the Crucible, but he came up against an extremely capable and composed young player in the 24-year-old McGill.
McGill came through qualifying to reach the televised stages in Sheffield and knocked out another fancied player, Stephen Maguire 10-9 in the 1st round. Leading 10-6 going into yesterday's evening session, there were still a few doubters who questioned whether he could hold on for the victory. This was the player who had led Ronnie O'Sullivan in the early stages of their 2014 UK Championship quarter-final, only to fall away to a 6-4 defeat as several frame winning chances were squandered.
Needing just three more frames to knock out Selby, the two players shared the opening two frames of the evening session. When McGill made a frame-winning break of 87 to move into a 12-7 lead, it seemed that the end would soon follow. The Leicester champion was not playing badly though and seemed determined to make his opponent win the match, rather than throwing in the towel. He rallied to claim the next two frames (including a century) and reduce his arrears to 12-9, as the pressure on McGill began to escalate. There was to be no further drama though, as the Scot closed the match out in the next with a sparkling break of 82 to advance into the 3rd round.
The young Scot's temperament seems to be improving match by match in this year's World Championships. Those three rounds of qualifying that preceded the first round itself, included another 10-9 success over the experienced Mark King. Perhaps even more indicative of his undoubted ability was the clinical break of 127 in the decisive final frame. The 1st round triumph over Maguire featured yet another century break to close out the match. It seems that close tussles and big names no longer hold any fears for the practice partner of another top Scottish player, Alan McManus. He is certainly one to watch the future progress of in years to come, but he is not finished in this tournament yet and it will be interesting to see if he can maintain his form in the next round.
McGill will face either Joe Perry or the 2005 World Champion Shaun Murphy next. Murphy will be the slight favourite for that tie and looked to be cueing well in his 10-3 1st round success over Robin Hull. He completed a personal career "Triple Crown" (World, UK and Masters' events) this year, when claiming the Masters' title, establishing him as one of the favourites for the World crown this year. McGill will fear no one though after knocking out Selby. #Television