Steve Davis hails 'animal' Mark Selby as World Championship title defence begins

Ken Doherty plays a shot during his match at the World Championship Qualifying rounds

Chinese cueman Ding Junhui may not have had a great season but the whole of China and many neutral observers will be willing him to go one better than a year ago and become Asia's first world champion.

"This time I'd be very disappointed to bow out early on this year with the preparation I've made, the consistency I've shown and the results stands me in good stead".

Five-time world champion Ronnie O'Sullivan believes Mark Selby is now in the form of his life and this week's World Championship in Sheffield is his to lose. "I like this kind of venue, I think of it like a working men's club that I am used to playing at up in the north-east", said Wilson.

There was a wide smile from O'Brien once he knew he was on the board by taking frame nine, but it was largely a tale of disappointment for the 45-year-old, who won a two-hour deciding frame - the longest frame in professional snooker history - against David Gilbert in the final round of qualifying on Wednesday.

O'Sullivan has had a rancorous recent relationship with the snooker authorities.

"I'm letting my lawyers sort it all out and not getting involved because I'm not being bullied or intimidated ever again".

"The best big-occasion players I see in the field would be John Higgins, Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Selby and that's disregarding some fantastic players", Davis said.

It was the UK Masters, a tournament which he won, for a record seventh time, back in January. This is something I do for love, but I'm not going to do it and have people trying to intimidate me and bully me.

"I think it was nice to get it out of the way", said Trump, describing the relief at ending his losing streak in finals.

"Maybe it is just because I am working a little bit harder".

O'Sullivan was unhappy with the performance of referee Terry Camilleri in his Masters semi-final win over Marco Fu, and said a press photographer had been "a f****** nightmare" during the match. I'll definitely be playing for the next couple of years.

Both of the best-of-19 matches will play to a finish on Sunday. Drop me out, I don't need you, you probably don't need me.

The 27-year-old looked destined to be a snooker superstar when he burst on to the scene in 2011.

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