Defending world champion Selby crashes out after epic Crucible slugfest with Bingtao

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Selby, 38, crashed out in Sheffield
Selby, 38, crashed out in Sheffield

By Ben Parsons at the Crucible

Mark Selby's World Championship defence was ended by nerveless Yan Bingtao in a dramatic last 16 clash that included the longest ever frame at the Crucible.

Former Masters champion Bingtao was in control after securing the first two frames of an absorbing final session to lead 11-7.

Leicester potter Selby then displayed the kind of steel that host city Sheffield is renowned for as he threatened a Crucible comeback for the ages.

The four-time champion reeled off the next three frames in style with breaks of 86, 117 and 88 to reduce the deficit to 11-10 and set up a thrilling finale.

But China's Bingtao dug deep to claim an epic two final frames – including the longest frame in Crucible history, timed at 85 minutes and 22 seconds – and seal his place in the last-eight with a 13-10 victory.

Gracious Selby, 38, believes he may have been knocked out by this year’s champion.

“Yan is just a great all-round player, you have to beat him, he doesn't give anything to you," he said.“I wish I was as good at his age. For me he has the game to go on and win it.

“Here, to not be scoring and not be at your best, you have to scrap it out and he showed that."

A compelling, record-breaking penultimate frame lasted almost an hour and a half - the longest in Crucible history by over five minutes.

And Bingtao held his nerve to snatch it on the final black, which proved to be decisive for Selby.

The 22-year-old then showed his mettle on the big stage with an emphatic century break to confirm his quarter-final spot.

"A very long frame," Bingtao said about the Crucible record.

"He had a very good chance to level at 11-11 but he missed the last pink and he was feeling the pressure and was nervous.

"He gave me an easy chance and at 12-10 I just needed one more chance."

Selby had considered not defending his world title after an extended break from the table to seek help for mental health problems.

He opened up on his issues in January and took a seven-week break before the Sheffield showpiece.

“From where I was a few months ago, not really knowing where I was going to be and mentally not in a great place, to come here with a bit of positivity and enjoying the game is the biggest bonus," Selby added.

“I’ll have a few more sessions with the doctor and I feel like I’m on the right path and I can see improvements which is great.

“I’m disappointed to lose but overall, I surprised myself with how I played.”

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