Mark Selby stunned by heroic Hossein Vafaei at the UK Championship
Mark Selby crashed out of the UK Championship following a commanding 6-2 defeat by Hossein Vafaei in the second round on Sunday.
Champion in 2012 and 2016, the Jester was aiming to become only the sixth player to lift this trophy on three or more occasions.
However, his quest came to an abrupt halt as he was ousted by an inspired Vafaei at the York Barbican Centre.
The world number 63, who whitewashed Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-0 at the German Masters qualifiers last month, made the ideal start with a wonderful break of 105.
Further runs of 69, 55 and 56 opened up a commanding 5-0 advantage and moved him to the brink of another huge scalp.
A shell-shocked Selby eventually stopped the rot and averted the whitewash as a break of 80 cut the gap to 5-2.
The World champion almost reduced the arrears even further, only to go in-off when cutting in a tricky black and from the subsequent re-spot, Vafaei fluked it into the middle pocket to seal the deal.
Selby was not the only big-named casualty on day five of the sport’s second-most prestigious ranking tournament.
Three-time champion Ding Junhui was beaten 6-3 by Sam Craigie; a result that sees him drop out of the top 16 and subsequently fail to qualify for the Masters in January.
Although Ding recovered from 3-1 down with breaks of 134 and 96 to level, world number 55 Craigie held his nerve with runs of 105 and 84 securing a wonderful win.
Two-time winner Mark Williams is also heading for the departure lounge after he was edged out in a deciding frame by Anthony Hamilton, who recovered from 3-0 down to prevail and set up a showdown with former semi-finalist Ricky Walden.
Elsewhere, world number two Judd Trump avoided the carnage with a 6-3 victory over Chris Wakelin, while 2015 World champion Stuart Bingham beat Stuart Carrington 6-2.
Stephen Maguire – champion here in 2004 – hit breaks of 127, 104, 90, 75 and 73 in a thumping 6-1 win over Tian Pengfei and will play Luca Brecel, who scraped past Tom Ford 6-5.
Breaks of 130, 90 and 70 helped Anthony McGill overcome David Grace 6-4, while top-16 hopefuls Zhou Yuelong and Graeme Dott enjoyed 6-2 victories against Ashley Hugill and Jimmy Robertson respectively.
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UK Championship 2021 Day Five Results
Sunday November 28
Li Hang 3-6 Ricky Walden
Tian Pengfei 1-6 Stephen Maguire
Judd Trump 6-3 Chris Wakelin
Martin Gould 3-6 Cao Yupeng
Zhao Xintong 6-5 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Ding Junhui 3-6 Sam Craigie
Peter Lines 6-3 Fan Zhengyi
Robert Milkins 2-6 Xiao Guodong
Farakh Ajaib 1-6 Jordan Brown
Anthony McGill 6-4 David Grace
Zhou Yuelong 6-2 Ashley Hugill
Anthony Hamilton 6-5 Mark Williams
Luca Brecel 6-5 Tom Ford
Stuart Carrington 2-6 Stuart Bingham
Jimmy Robertson 2-6 Graeme Dott
Hossein Vafaei 6-2 Mark Selby