McGill Knocks Out Champ Selby

WELS9850-1024x1024Mark Selby fell victim to the Curse of the Crucible as qualifier Anthony McGill produced a fantastic performance to beat him 13-9.

Talented McGill’s reputation is growing by the day, provoking memories of Shaun Murphy’s leap into the limelight in 2005 when he went all the way to the title. Glasgow’s 24-year-old McGill may not get that far, but he has already won countless admirers thanks to his calmness around the table and superb break-building and tactical play. He won three matches to earn a Crucible debut then beat Stephen Maguire 10-9 before scoring by far the biggest victory of his life against world number one Selby.

No first-time winner has been able to defend the title the following year, and Selby joined the list of players to fall to the Curse.

Clearly a player who enjoys the big occasion, McGill is through to the quarter-finals of a ranking event for the second time in his career, having reached the same stage of the UK Championship. He now meets Shaun Murphy or Joe Perry in the last eight on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“I’m just ecstatic,” said McGill, who turned pro in 2010. “I’ve just beaten the World Champion at the Crucible, I can’t believe it. No one was expecting me to win, I wasn’t expecting it myself. I was just hoping to put up a proper decent fight. I knew if I gave everything I had then my mind would be at ease whatever the result.

“I thought I played pretty well. To win the second session 6-2 and go 10-6 ahead was massive, but I knew by no means was it over tonight, even when it went to 12-7. He’s not World Champion for nothing and you just see time and time again, Mark Selby comes back at a lot better players than me.

It seems every time I win now it’s the biggest win of my career. I’ve beaten Stephen, I’ve now beaten Mark and fingers crossed it keeps happening.

“I think I need to score a little bit better. I’m scoring alright but I’m not winning enough frames in one visit. In the last session there Mark was getting the first chance in every frame so there’s a few areas I need to brush up on.

“I’m not bothered who I play next, I don’t think they’ll be bothered about playing me. I’m probably quite a good draw in the quarter-finals of the World. I’ll just go out and try my best again.”

McGill led 10-6 going into the final session and made an excellent 68 clearance in the first frame tonight to extend his lead. Selby pulled one back with a run of 67 but McGill responded with an 87 for 12-7.

A run of 57 put Selby in charge of frame 20, then McGill had a chance to clear but lost position with two reds left. He later went in-off when attempting a long red, allowing Selby to close the gap to four. After the interval, Selby threatened a trademark fight-back as a break of 101 made it 12-9. but McGill refused to buckle and needed just one chance in frame 22 as a run of 82 saw him over the wining line.

Selby said: “Anthony played fantastic all match, he thoroughly deserved to win. I probably lost it in the second session, I played really poorly and every time he got a chance he seemed to punish me – he had me under pressure all match. He’s more than capable of winning the tournament.

“I’ve known Anthony for a few years now, I’ve played him a few times and he’s got a really mature head on young shoulders. I’m not embarrassed about losing because many of the the greats over the years have won it for the first time and then not defended it.

“When I look back over the season I’ve had a lot of things going on off the table, with (daughter) Sofia arriving, and coming through to win two tournaments – it’s not a bad season overall.”

Stuart Bingham moved within two frames of a quarter-final sport by going 11-5 ahead of Graeme Dott. Former champion Dott won the first two frames of the session to close to 6-4, but Bingham won five of the next six with top breaks of 81, 102 and 58. They play to a finish on Saturday at 2.30pm.

Crucible Curse
How the first-time winners have fared the following year
1980 Terry Griffiths: Lost in the second round to Steve Davis
1981 Cliff Thorburn: Lost in the semi-finals to Steve Davis
1982 Steve Davis: Lost in the first round to Tony Knowles
1986 Dennis Taylor: Lost in the first round to Mike Hallett
1987 Joe Johnson: Lost in the final to Steve Davis
1991 Stephen Hendry: Lost in the quarter-finals to Steve James
1992 John Parrott: Lost in the quarter-finals to Alan McManus
1998 Ken Doherty: Lost in the final to John Higgins
1999 John Higgins: Lost in the semi-finals to Mark Williams
2001 Mark Williams: Lost in the second round to Joe Swail
2002 Ronnie O’Sullivan: Lost in the semi-finals to Stephen Hendry
2003 Peter Ebdon: Lost in the quarter-finals to Paul Hunter
2006 Shaun Murphy: Lost in the quarter-finals to Peter Ebdon
2007 Graeme Dott: Lost in the first round to Ian McCulloch
2011 Neil Robertson: Lost in the first round to Judd Trump
2015 Mark Selby: Lost in the second round to Anthony McGill

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