Mark Selby defeated Fergal O'Brien- Betfred World Championship

Defending Champion Mark Selby brushed aside Fergal O’Brien in a 10-2 win to progress to the second round of the Betfred World Championship.

Selby has arrived in Sheffield off the back of one of his best ever seasons, having won four ranking titles in a single campaign for the first time. He’s lifted silverware at the Paul Hunter Classic, International Championship, UK Championship and China Open.

The damage today was done in an opening session which the world number one dominated, establishing an 8-1 advantage.

O’Brien looked jaded and that could be attributed to a record breaking final frame decider with David Gilbert in qualifying on Wednesday. They played out the longest ever professional frame, taking two hours and three minutes.

There was no let up from the World Champion as the evening session got underway. He took the first frame with a fine contribution of 92.

Irishman O’Brien won a tight 11th to extend the match, but his resistance was soon ended. O’Brien looked in position to make it 9-3, but jawed a tough pot on the final black. Selby duly deposited the black to a baulk corner to clinch the tie.

“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,” said 11-time ranking winner Selby. “I’m eager to hold on to the title and to win it for a third time and join even more greats such as Higgins and 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.”

O’Brien admitted that his exertions in qualifying may have played a factor this evening, but remained upbeat about his Crucible return.

“After the efforts of getting here there probably wasn’t a lot left in the tank,” said the 1999 British Open winner. “That night between the excitement of winning I only slept three hours on Wednesday and was up early Thursday.

“Even winning one frame today was enjoyable because the crowd were so supportive against me being whitewashed.”