Mark Selby begins his quest for a fifth World Snooker Championship title when he faces Matthew Selt in the first round on Wednesday.
The Jester boasts an impressive Crucible record – lifting the trophy in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2021 – with only Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O’Sullivan (both seven) and Steve Davis (six) – enjoying more success in Sheffield.
An ever-present since his debut in 2005, Selby has suffered just four first-round exits at snooker’s blue-riband event – the most recent of these coming in 2018, when his title defence was ended by a 10-4 defeat to Joe Perry.
But having won all eight meetings with Selt (excluding the Championship League) – including a 10-4 success on his opponent’s Crucible bow 10 years ago – the omens are certainly looking good for the world number two.
Selby has also enjoyed a welcome resurgence this season, returning to the winners’ circle following his triumphs at the English Open and WST Classic.
By contrast, Selt has matched his best performance of a generally underwhelming season – also reaching this stage at the UK Championship and English Open – by securing a fourth appearance at the Crucible.
The former Indian Open champion defeated Peter Lines and former Crucible king Graeme Dott to seal his return to Sheffield, where he is targeting a maiden victory having also fallen at the first hurdle in 2015 and 2021.
The winner of this match, which will be contested over the best of 19 frames, will play Scottish Open champion Gary Wilson in the second round of the 2023 World Snooker Championship.
Play gets underway at 2.30pm BST on Wednesday with the opening of nine frames, before drawing to a conclusion with a maximum of 10 from 1pm on Thursday at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
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