Mark Selby

Snooker World Championship Preview: Selby 3/1 To Defend Title

2017-04-20
A preview of Saturday’s matches at the World Championship in Sheffield.

Mark Selby has set his sights on becoming only the seventh player to win three World Championship titles.

Selby is the overwhelming 1/9 favourite to beat qualifier Xiao Guodong when they commence their second-round clash at the World Championship in Sheffield on Saturday.

The world champion eased past Fergal O’Brien 10-2 while Xiao won his first match at the Crucible in beating Ryan Day 10-4.

Selby, now the 3/1 favourite for the title after Judd Trump’s shock exit, said on worldsnooker.com: “This time I’m coming here knowing what to expect as defending champion. With the season I’ve had I feel a lot more relaxed.

“I’m eager to hold on to the title and to win it for a third time and join even more greats such as [John] Higgins and [Ronnie] O’Sullivan.

“There’s only me and Mark Williams on two and then it jumps to Higgins with four. I’ll try my hardest to win again this year.”

Xiao, meanwhile, dreams of following in the footsteps of Selby and the likes of Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis in becoming world champion.

After knocking out 16th seed Day, Xiao said on worldsnooker.com: “If you don’t have confidence you can’t win anything. When you have confidence you need to tell yourself to believe.

“Everyone comes to the UK and the dream is to be world champion. My dream is to be world champion, if one day I have a chance I will do it.”

Also on Saturday, Rory McLeod takes on Stephen Maguire having caused one of the biggest shocks in the tournament’s history in knocking out Judd Trump 10-8.

The 46-year-old qualifier recovered from losing the first four frames to finally see off Trump, who was the joint favourite alongside Selby for the title.

McLeod is now 9/2 to beat Maguire, who is 1/7 to avoid becoming another scalp.

McLeod said: “It's my best win of my career. To beat Judd Trump on centre stage is brilliant.

“I've always known I'm capable, it's actually doing it. We can all say 'yeah I'm brilliant and I can do it' but it's actually producing when you need to. I've done it.”