Defending champion Mark Selby suffered a shock first-round defeat in snooker’s World Championship on Saturday as fellow cuemaster Ronnie O’Sullivan was made fight to stay in the tournament.
The opening day of the tournament saw Selby beaten 10-4 by Joe Perry in an all-English contest, while their compatriot O’Sullivan, bidding for a sixth world title, found himself 6-3 down to Scotland’s Stephen Maguire.
But O’Sullivan fought back brilliantly to see off Maguire 10-7 after the match resumed on Sunday.
Selby was aiming to become just the third player after Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry to win three successive world title since the tournament moved to its present home of Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre in northern England back in 1977.
But Perry didn’t look back after racing into a 7-2 lead in the morning session and not even Selby, renowned as a tough match-player, could overturn such a heavy deficit on this occasion.
“I lost it really in the first session,” Selby said. “My safety wasn’t up to scratch and every time I made a mistake he punished me heavily.”