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Ronnie O’Sullivan whitewashed by Mark Selby as winning run crashes to an end

World No 1 O’Sullivan had been on a 16-match unbeaten run but spectacularly lost to Selby in the Players Championship quarter-finals

Pa Sport Staff
Friday 23 February 2024 08:17 GMT
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Ronnie O’Sullivan lost 6-0 to Mark Selby
Ronnie O’Sullivan lost 6-0 to Mark Selby (AFP via Getty Images)

Mark Selby produced a vintage display to sweep past Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-0 and secure his place in the semi-finals of the Players Championship in Telford.

World No 1 O’Sullivan had looked pretty much untouchable this season, with four major ranking titles already.

However, it was Selby, himself a four-time world champion, who produced a high-quality display with half-century breaks or higher in five frames to end O’Sullivan’s 16-match unbeaten run.

There had been a controversial start to the match in the opening frame when referee Desislava Bozhilova failed to warn O’Sullivan after a second missed attempt when he could see one side of a red.

She swiftly realised her error, apologised to both players and promptly informed The Rocket he would forfeit the frame if he did not hit a red with his next shot.

O’Sullivan’s response was to smash into the reds, opening up the table which allowed Selby to eventually clinch the frame with a break of 65.

Selby, who will play either China’s Zhang Anda or John Higgins in the semi-finals, soon built early momentum following a clearance of 91. After O’Sullivan did not make the most of a chance in the third, another break of 81 further extended his advantage.

It was turning into a vintage display from the Jester from Leicester, who produced another fine break of 105 to go into the mid-session interval in complete control at 4-0.

Following the resumption, O’Sullivan continued to make some wayward shots, going in off a red and into the top pocket as Selby went on to take the fifth frame with a 59 clearance.

The Rocket finally kicked into gear in the next frame with a break of 58, only to run out of position and then see an attempted safety shot back up the table edge the green to leave a red on.

Following couple of tense exchanges, Selby sunk a long red at pace into the bottom left corner and then dropped in a deft final red after O’Sullivan had left it just over the pocket before clearing the colours to take the frame 70-58, completing a memorable win.

“To beat Ronnie in any tournament is a great scoreline, to beat him in the way I did, I am very, very pleased. It was more or less faultless,” Selby said on ITV4.

“It is a huge game and if you cant get up for matches like that, you might as well put your cue away.

“I felt confident I could win, because if you don’t then more often than not the scoreline will be the other way.

“The biggest thing for me is that when I am not winning I try to tweak things, but the two performances I have put in here have proved to me that what I am doing now is what I need to carry on doing, whether I win or lose.”

Mark Selby (right) whitewashed Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter-finals (PA Archive)

During Thursday’s afternoon session at the International Centre, Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen came through a marathon four-hour contest to beat Gary Wilson 6-4.

Allen, celebrating his 38th birthday, moved into an early 2-0 lead after two half-century breaks and went into the interval 3-1 ahead with a run of 75.

Wilson, who won the BetVictor Welsh Open on Sunday, then mounted a recovery as he fought back to level at 3-3 on the back of a 76 break.

World number three Allen, though, dug in again to take frames seven and eight, before missing a match-ball chance in the next and then eventually getting the job done with a 69 break.

Allen, who had beaten former world champion Mark Williams in the first round, goes on to play Ali Carter for a place in Sunday’s final.

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