Ronnie O’Sullivan will be world number one a while longer (Picture: VCG via Getty Images)Ronnie O’Sullivan is guaranteed to be the second seed for the 2019 Snooker World Championship after Mark Selby’s shock early exit from the China Open.
O’Sullivan moved to number one in the world after winning the Tour Championship in March, but he could have lost that spot had Selby won the China Open for a fourth time.
Far from lifting the trophy, Selby lost 6-3 in a held over qualifying match to Craig Steadman, meaning that Ronnie will remain number one going into the World Championship.
However, the world number one doesn’t mean number one seed in Sheffield, that honour goes to the defending champion, Mark Williams.
Mark Selby suffered a very disappointing defeat on Monday (Picture: VCG via Getty Images)Selby was disappointed to relinquish a title he has won in each of the last two years in Beijing, but is taking the positives from losing his number one spot.
‘Hopefully my results will turn around,’ said the three-time world champion. ‘I had the number one spot for four years but sooner or later I was going to lose it, and Ronnie has played well this season.
‘It will make me stronger, to try to get it back. I’ll go home now and prepare for Sheffield.’
O’Sullivan is the favourite for the World Championship (Picture: VCG via Getty Images)It is now guaranteed that both O’Sullivan and Selby will be in the bottom half of the draw as Mark is set to be third seed at the Crucible.
This means the pair could meet in the semi-finals in Sheffield for the first time, having previously contested a quarter-final and the final of the World Championship.
Selby won both those contests, in 2010 and ’14 respectively, but would go in as the underdog against the red hot favourite to lift the title in South Yorkshire.
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The remaining 13 seeds will be confirmed at the end of the China Open, with the final in Beijing being played on Sunday.
The World Championship begins on Saturday 20 April.
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