Judd Trump suffered a shock exit from the World Snooker Championship as the title holder crashed to a 13-9 quarter-final defeat against Kyren Wilson on Tuesday.
Trump became the last victim of the so-called ‘Crucible Curse’ which has seen 18 first-time winners of the world title fail to retain the crown since the event moved to the Sheffield venue in 1977.
Trump trailed 10-6 from Monday’s opening session and fired three breaks over 50 in the first four frames on Tuesday to reduce the deficit to just two.
But eighth seed Wilson moved one frame from victory after winning the 21st frame in two visits.
He seized on a missed long red by Trump to round off victory in style with a break of 104.
Mark Selby admitted he had doubted whether he would ever return to the latter stages at the Crucible after completing a 12-7 win over Australia’s Neil Robertson to book his place in the semi-finals for the sixth time.
Selby suffered a crisis of confidence in the wake of his third world title win in 2017, losing his world number one ranking as he won just two tournaments in the following two years.
But the 37-year-old believes the manner of his win over fellow former champion Robertson indicates he is back to somewhere approaching his best.
“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,” Selby said.
“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.”
Trailing 11-5 overnight, Robertson was unable to climb out of the hole and he 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 the two days.
“He kept it super-tight and I couldn’t get any free-flowing scoring going at all.”
Five-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan clawed his way back to level the match at eight-all against Mark Williams, who is chasing a fourth world title, after the Englishman won the last four frames of Tuesday’s session.
Anthony McGill held off a fine fightback from Kurt Maflin and will take a 10-6 lead into Tuesday evening’s concluding session.