British Snooker Championship 2021: Mark Selby and Ding Junhui absent, Judd Trump crossed
|Place: Barbican york Appointment: November 23-December 5 Blanket: BBC One, BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website and app|
|Watch the UK Championship on the BBC|
World number one and world champion Mark Selby suffered a searing surprise in the British championship, defeated 6-2 in the second round by Iranian Hossein Vafaei.
Selby fell 5-0 down as Vafaei took control and although he fell two frames back, the world number 63 won the match by jumping into a pitch black.
Favorite Judd Trump had to work hard for a 6-3 win over Chris Wakelin.
Wakelin edged out 3-2, but world number two Trump won four in a row to advance to the next round.
The tournament has already seen a number of shocks occur with defending champion Neil Robertson, former winner Shaun Murphy and Masters champion Yan Bingtao all starting early.
Trump, who lifted the trophy for the only time in 2011, was a finalist beaten last year in an epic encounter and appeared to return home when he was left behind, but managed to cross the line even s ‘he wasn’t at his best.
Trump is the favorite for the UK Championship after beating John Higgins 10-4 to win the Champion of Champions event last time around.
When asked if he was watching the raffle with other big names, Trump told BBC Two: “You do a little bit, you can’t help yourself.
“When a game gets messy, not like I want the game to be played, I had to dig and you have to do your best. There were a few images that I threw away, there were some distractions with other tables In progress.
“In the past, sometimes when a game was like this I would give up a bit and get too offensive. I let the balls dictate what happened now and gave it my all.
“It certainly comes from experience, I scratched that one and I’m still in the draw.”
1997 World Champion Ken Doherty on BBC Two:
“It was a worker performance from Trump. That’s what you have to do, you can’t fly right away. He will be happy with the victory but he will have higher standards of performance. More importantly, it’s on the next round, Wakelin refused a few shots and Judd took advantage of the chances.
“Sometimes you have to graft on for wins because the standard is so high. You have to work for your wins, executives can get disjointed and you can’t take big breaks all the time.”
Vafaei claims another major scalp
Selby faced a lime loss when Vafaei took breaks of 106, 69, 55 and 56, but the Leicester player entered the board in sixth frame before making an 80 in the next.
A dramatic eighth frame saw Leicester’s Selby pocket the final black but the cue ball entered the middle pocket, forcing a transplanted black.
After an extended tactical exchange, Vafaei tried to play a safety shot but ended up slipping the black one into the middle pocket to win the match.
It was Vafaei’s second major scalp of the season after whitewashing six-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-0 at the German Masters.
“Beating the best players is a big achievement for anyone,” said Vafaei. “They are our legends so I have to respect them, if they lose or win their names are still there, we don’t forget who they are. Mark Selby is one of the great ambassadors for us and such a good champion.
“I’m always up for this, I want my people to be proud of me, I want the snooker to be bigger in Iran than it is now. Thank God I don’t know what power it gives me to become like that. “
Selby added: “I didn’t play well enough, Hossein was definitely the best player and deserved to win. He started well and is a great favorite, and if you let him go he can wow anyone. “
What happened to Ding?
World number 55 Sam Craigie caused another huge shock, beating three-time champion Ding Junhui 6-3.
Craigie took breaks of 55, 69, 105 and 84 to oust Chinese star Ding, who won the tournament the last time it was held at the Barbican Center in 2019.
“I don’t know what happened to Ding,” seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry said on BBC Two.
“I don’t know if we’ve seen the best of him.
“Looks like he doesn’t really care anymore. In the last tournament he shot an easy red to beat John Higgins. All the pressure balls he doesn’t seem to have anymore. don’t know where Ding is going from here. “
Meanwhile, the 2004 champion Stephen maguire was in superb scoring form, achieving two centuries and three more breaks of 70s or more to outperform China’s Tian Pengfei 6-1.
North Ireland Jordan Brown beat Pakistani player Farakh Ajaib by the same score to advance.
Two-time Wales champion Mark Williams was also eliminated after a surprise 6-5 loss to England. Anthony Hamilton.