Snooker World Championship: Selby and O’Sullivan set to fight it out
No man has won three Snooker World Championship titles in succession since Stephen Hendry racked up five-in-a-row from 1992 to 1997.
John Higgins has come close. Ronnie O’Sullivan too. But it’s Mark Selby who is on the verge of greatness ahead of this year’s showpiece at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
The Jester from Leicester saw off Ding Junhui in 2016 to lift his second title.
Then 12 months later he returned to beat Higgins 18-15 for a third success overall and a second straight triumph.
Baize dwellers beware. The 34-year-old is in ominous form again this year.
After a disappointing exit in the first round of the Ladbrokes Players Championship, Selby showed his class by winning the China Open in Beijing last month.
That should worry his fellow cue masters. He won the same tournament last year before going on to dominate all in his path at the Crucible.
He’s 4/1 to wrap up a hat-trick of successes in Sheffield.
That means he’ll need to overcome 15/8 shot and favourite for the tournament Ronnie O’Sullivan.
The Rocket has been the standout player on the circuit this season.
His recent success in the Players Championship brought about a fifth-title of the season – a joint-record for a single campaign.
Last year’s quarter-final exit won’t be good enough for the 147-specialist this time around. He’ll be gunning for a first success since 2013.
Outside of the big two, Judd Trump and John Higgins are the only pair available at a sub-10/1 price.
The former has reached the semi-finals of five tournaments this season and is 8/1 to land a maiden world title.
Higgins, on the other hand, reached the final last year. He’s supplemented that performance with two ranking titles since.
The four-time Crucible winner is always considered a danger. But with 11 1st round defeats to his name in 23 appearances, there’s no telling which Wizard of Wishaw will turn up.
Ding Junhui, Mark Williams and Neil Robertson come next at 14/1 apiece.
But it’s 33/1 shot Kyren Wilson who catches our eye.
The Kettering potter is up to a career-high ninth in the rankings thanks to a semi-final and two final appearances on the tour this season.
He was narrowly beaten in The Masters in January too.
The 23-year-old will be a better player for those experiences, although a tough draw means The Warrior will need to be at his best to stand any chance.
Ladbrokes Latest Betting:
2018 Snooker World Championship
Ronnie O’Sullivan – 15/8
Mark Selby – 4/1
Judd Trump – 8/1
John Higgins – 9/1
Ding Junhui – 14/1
Mark Williams – 14/1
Neil Robertson – 14/1
Barry Hawkins – 22/1
Shaun Murphy – 22/1
Mark Allen – 25/1
Stuart Bingham – 25/1
Click here for the latest World Championship odds.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing