Selby dumped out of World Championship by Hawkins
World number one blames burnout for Crucible defeat
Mark Selby sits dejected in his chair as he loses his second round match against Barry Hawkins at the Betfair World Championships at the Crucible, Sheffield. Photograph: Anna Gowthorpe/PA
Weary world number one Mark Selby staggered to a dismal Crucible defeat as his dream of completing snooker’s ‘triple crown’ was dashed by a stunning Barry Hawkins comeback in Sheffield.
Leading 9-7 overnight in the second round of the Betfair World Championship, after Hawkins won the last frame of the middle session to stay in the hunt, today Selby’s game collapsed and his opponent won six out of seven frames to take a 13-10 win.
Hawkins wept tears of joy after reaching the quarter-finals for the first time, while Selby reasoned that burnout was a factor in his defeat.
When the tears came in his post-match press conference, Hawkins said: “It’s one of the best results of my life, I can’t believe I’m getting emotional.
“You’d think I’ve won the World Championship but I’m only in the quarter-finals — what a nutter.”
Selby said: “I had no drive, no buzz. Anyone can accept losing but the way I played, I didn’t really turn up.
“This year I’ve played in almost everything, and I just feel as though I’ve burned myself out playing too much.”
The rot set in early, Selby reaching 48 in the first frame of the session before leaving himself a tricky red and fluffing the cut.
The misses kept coming from the 29-year-old Leicester man, many of them quite staggering. Selby won a safety battle on the pink in the opening frame, and potted that ball to leave himself black for the match, but he rattled it around the jaws of the centre pocket and Hawkins made no mistake when it fell kindly in his favour.
As Selby’s game continued to disintegrate, Hawkins held himself together and punched the air in delight once victory was secure.
Selby had won the UK Championship and Masters already this season, but the World Championship title remains elusive. He reached the 2007 final but has not been back.
Selby said: “I’ve had the best season I’ve ever had and to perform like that is a disappointing way to end it.
“I was just flat really. I don’t know if it’s because of the long season, travelling here, there and everywhere.”
Hawkins accepted the snooker on show was nothing to shout about, saying: “It wasn’t a pretty match, we couldn’t find any rhythm. He doesn’t mind playing matches like that if he can get the job done.
“Every shot was a pint of blood and I battled so hard and got the result in the end.”
Now the 33-year-old Kent man, ranked 14th in the world, has his eyes on a greater goal.
He said: “I suppose everyone left in the tournament will think they can win it now, otherwise it’s not worth turning up. I’m in the last eight; I know there’s such a long way to go but if I can find some fluent form you never know.”
Next for Hawkins will be Ding Junhui or Mark King, who were getting their second-round match under way this evening.
Judd Trump looked to be heading for victory tonight against Marco Fu, with the 2011 runner-up moving 12-7 in front.