The defending champion Judd Trump crashed out of the world championship after a 13-9 defeat against the eighth seed Kyren Wilson. Trump became the 18th player to suffer the so-called “Crucible curse” where no first-time winner has retained the crown since the event moved to the venue in 1977.
Trump had shown signs of recovering from his 10-6 overnight deficit as he made three breaks over 50 in the first four frames on Tuesday to reduce the arrears to just two. But Wilson moved one frame from victory after winning the 21st in two visits then seized on a missed long red by Trump to complete victory in the quarter-finals with a break of 104.
Mark Selby said he doubted whether he would ever return to the one-table setup at the Crucible after completing a 12-7 win over Neil Robertson to book his place in the semi-finals for the sixth time.
Selby endured a crisis of confidence in the wake of his third world title win in 2017, losing his world No 1 ranking as he won only two tournaments in the following two years and crashed out in the early stages in Sheffield. But the 37-year-old, who was forced to battle through the first two rounds against Jordan Brown and Noppon Saengkham respectively, believes the manner of his win over fellow former champion Robertson indicates he is back to somewhere near his best.
Selby said: “Over the last 12 to 18 months I was questioning myself. I had got so used to winning tournaments then when I wasn’t winning tournaments it became very damaging to my confidence.
“I was happy with my performance against Neil. I felt if I got a chance I could score, and my safety play was back up with how it was a few years ago. As a match-play game it was right up there with my best performances. I can see the changes already, especially in my body language, so long may it continue.”
Selby resumed with an 11-5 overnight advantage and swiftly moved one frame from victory by taking his first chance with a break of 91. He edged even closer with a break of 56 in the next frame but after missing a red to the middle, Robertson embarked on a gutsy comeback.
The Australian won the next two frames and looked set to take a third before a simple missed black allowed Selby to wrap up victory at the second attempt.
Robertson said: “It was a really tough game and apart from three or four frames in the match, every frame came down to the final few reds or the colours.
“Mark’s defensive safety was absolutely unbelievable. He didn’t let up really and I think he got his game plan spot-on over over the two days. He kept it super tight and I couldn’t get any free-flowing scoring going at all.”