“I’m looking forward to defending my title this year and trying to break the Crucible curse” said Mark Selby, who captured the crown last year. The Leicester cue-man looked to be the runner-up when he trailed 3-8 and 5-10, but he fought his way back into the game and led 12-11 producing his best snooker of the match when it mattered most, winning the last three frames for an 18-14 success and fulfilling his life ambition-“To come through playing Ronnie in the final, it’s a dream come true if you’re going to win your first world title”. This year’s performance showed him winning the EPTC event 1, German Master and China Open earlier this month. With the tournament getting under way on Saturday, Selby has the chance to rewrite history as he looked to break the so-called curse – with no first-time champion ever able to successfully defend the crown the next year.
“I feel I’m confident enough and have just won my last tournament so I feel ready to defend it.”
“I also heard that no-one has ever won the China Open and then gone on to win the World Championship so you could say there are two records.”
Fate has sent Kurt Maflin as opponent on the opening day of the televised stage, as tradition requests the defending champion to open the event at 10:00 AM on Saturday, the matched concluding in the evening session which starts at 19:00 PM in Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.
Kurt Graham Maflin is making his debut to Crucible tomorrow; his performance in the qualifying matches played at Ponds Forge saw him easily winning against David Grace, 10-5 in the first round, giving to Steve Davis a good trashing by losing only 1 frame in round 2 and culminating in the completion of the final qualifying round last night. The game had a crazy under way, two days ago O’Brien closed the first session of the match leading 6-3, while Maflin won first six frames of the final session before witnessing the final fight back from Fearless Fergal, pushing the meeting to a tens 19th frame. The London-born player, which lives in Oslo, finally clinched the decisive frame by clearing the final blue to clack, to win the frame 71-61. Maflin came to Sheffield high on the wings of the wind, reaching the semi-final in China Open with wins in deciding frames against Carter and Murphy, so I prefer to stay away of this match’s money line, in case the centuries odds will be tempting, I’ll take a close look on that specific market.
H2H: 1-1 http://www.cuetracker.net/Head-to-Head/Mark-Selby/Kurt-Maflin
Prediction: It can be said that Mark was not that lucky with the draw as he could get a weaker opponent and for the moment I’m not convinced that he will prevail at the end of the meeting.
Betting perspectives: Either player to win 3 successive frame? No@21 at Bet365
. They will also be offering live video of the whole World Snooker Championship for free.