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Mark Selby makes winning start to World Championship title defence

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World Snooker Championship 2022 | Day Two Preview and Order of Play

Selby sees off Jones (Photo by Action Plus Sports Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

Mark Selby made a successful start to his World Championship title defence after beating Jamie Jones 10-7 in the opening round on Saturday.

The Jester made breaks of 137, 134 and 129 – racking up his 100th century in snooker’s blue-riband event along the way – as he advanced to round two at the Crucible for the ninth time in 10 years.

The four-time World champion took command of the clash as he established an 8-3 lead, but 2012 quarter-finalist Jones dug deep to cut the deficit to 8-6.

However, Selby regained control of proceedings; taking two of the next three frames to set up a second-round showdown with either Yan Bingtao or Chris Wakelin.

The reigning champion was appearing in his first match since the Welsh Open at the start of March, having opted to sit out of the Turkish Masters and Gibraltar Open.

But despite losing the opening frame, the world number two took control with breaks of 134, 129, 73, 71 and 64 as he won six of the next eight for a 6-3 lead at the close of the afternoon.

Selby took advantage as his opponent failed to convert opportunities upon the resumption of play, moving 8-3 ahead.

Making his fifth appearance at the Crucible, Jones refused to lie down. The Neath cueist capitalised as the pressure on the reigning champion began to tell; winning the next three frames to set up a nervy finish.

Nevertheless, Selby regained his composure and a magnificent total clearance of 137 paved the way to him sealing the deal.

Elsewhere, Ronnie O’Sullivan won six frames on the spin from 3-0 down to take command against David Gilbert.

The Angry Farmer – a semi-finalist here in 2019 – has never beaten the Rocket in seven previous attempts, but made the ideal start with runs of 94 and 56 along the way.

But the six-time World champion hit back with breaks of 122, 104, 66 and 64 for a 6-3 advantage.

Meanwhile, Zhao Xintong made a dominant start against Jamie Clarke; establishing a 7-2 lead in his first match at the Crucible as a seed.

The UK Championship and German Masters winner was at his clinical best, with breaks of 109, 103, 98, 78, 73 and 57.

However, Barry Hawkins has work to do after falling 6-3 behind against inspired debutant Jackson Page.

The Welshman, who won four qualifying matches to secure his maiden appearance at the Crucible, showed no signs of nerves as he made contributions of 102, 84, 67, 61, 55 and 53.

2005 champion Shaun Murphy must also overturn a three-frame deficit on Sunday against Stephen Maguire.


World Snooker Championship 2022 Scores

Saturday April 16

Round One

Mark Selby 10-7 Jamie Jones
Zhao Xintong 7-2 Jamie Clarke
Barry Hawkins 3-6 Jackson Page
Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-3 David Gilbert
Shaun Murphy 3-6 Stephen Maguire