Yan Bingtao produced Mark Selby-type snooker to beat Mark Selby 13-10 and book his place in the quarter-finals of the World Championship.
It was a war of attrition, well suited to the demands of Selby, but he met his match in a player whose game is very similar to his own.
Yan won all but one of the long frames, including the longest frame in Crucible history at 85 minutes and 22 seconds, to send the defending champion out of the tournament.
Selby makes fourth maximum break of his career in commanding victory over Lisowski
It has been a tough season for Selby with his well-documented mental health issues, but he showed enough that he can get his career back on track following a summer off.
For Yan, he will need to regroup following this epic win as the in-form Mark Williams lies in wait in the quarter-finals.
Selby had an excellent chance to make a flying start, but returned to his chair with steam coming from his ears after missing a simple, straight pink. There was noise from the other table as he got down on the shot, but that is not new to Selby and the miss was inexplicable. The pain was exacerbated as Yan cleared to the pink to extend his lead.
‘Where did that come from?’ - Mark Selby misses simple pink
The 18th frame had a Selby feel to it, with it extremely scrappy and boiling down to a safety battle. Surprisingly, it was Selby who blinked and coughed up an error on the brown. It appeared at first glance as if he had got away with the mistake, as it did not seem Yan had a path to the brown past the blue. He took three minutes to line it up, causing controversy along the way by asking to have the white cleaned, and eventually knocked it in. Getting from blue to pink was not easy. Once again, he prowled round the table and knocked it down the side rail to the bottom left to open up a four-frame lead.
After losing two frames he should arguably have won, Selby got in again in the third frame of the evening and steadied the ship with a run of 86.
And to his immense credit, Selby knocked in a superb century to get back within two and carried on the momentum after the final interval as a break of 88 cut the gap to one.
- O'Sullivan determined to keep fighting on biggest stage
- Trump overcomes shaky start to share session with McGill
After three rapid-fire frames, the 22nd became an attritional safety battle. There were three balls potted in the opening 28 minutes, as both waited for an opening.
An excellent safety from Yan forced an error from Selby and he freed his arm with a run of 37. He broke down and the safety exchange continued. Selby was warned about forfeiting a frame after missing an escape on two occasions. The fact Yan received the same warning earlier in the frame told you all you needed to know about the length of the frame.
It went on, and on, and on - and by the time the pair got down to the colours Selby's highest break of the frame was one. He somehow had it in his grasp as the clock ticked past 79 minutes for the longest frame in Crucible history. He potted the blue, but missed the pink. The drama did not end there, as Yan missed the final black - offering Selby the chance of a re-spot. But it stayed out and Yan fell over the line after 85 minutes to take a 12-10 lead.
After the drama of the 22nd frame, Yan appeared to have finally sapped the fight out of Selby with his sheer will to win. And the 2021 Masters champion showed he has break-building class to complement his steely safety with a winning break of 112.
Neil Robertson split the opening session of his match with Jack Lisowski despite battling issues with his tip.
The Australian was bothered by his tip during the first mini-session and asked to leave the arena to do some work, but was informed that was not possible.
He found himself 4-2 down but knocked in back-to-back centuries, to suggest work he did at the interval paid off, as the pair finished 4-4 ahead of their return on Sunday.
Watch the World Championship and other top snooker live on Eurosport and discovery+.
Selby edges past Cao to seal place in last 16, faces Lisowski next
Higgins dumped out by impressive Yuan, Selby comfortably through
Share this article