Mark Selby suffers shock China Open exit


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Defending champion Mark Selby suffered a shock 6-3 defeat to Craig Steadman in qualifying for the China Open on Monday.

World number two Selby has won the event in Beijing in three of the last four years, including his 11-3 demolition of Barry Hawkins in the final 12 months ago, but he was never at the races during his clash with fellow Englishman Steadman, who sits 90 places below him in the world rankings.

The ‘Jester from Leicester’, who was recently deposed at the top of the world rankings by Ronnie O’Sullivan, had been leading Steadman 3-2, but he then proceeded to lose three frames on the spin.

That put the 35-year-old on the brink of elimination and fortune deserted him during the final frame after an unlucky foul, that saw the white ball leave the table, handed Steadman the initiative he required to close out the victory.

It is only the third time that Steadman has made it through to the main draw of the China Open and his reward will be a clash with the experienced Dominic Dale in the first round on Tuesday.

Selby, however, will have to dust himself down, particularly as the 2019 World Championship is set to get underway in less than three weeks’ time.

The three-time world champion was beaten in the first round at the Crucible last year. He is priced at 8.50 to claim overall glory this time around.

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